Mercer bookstore to open Thursday

The newest neighbor in the College Hill Corridor is expected to open this week.

The Barnes & Noble bookstore at Mercer University in Macon will open at its new location Thursday. The 7,600-square-foot store is on the first floor of the Lofts at Mercer Village at the intersection of Montpelier and Linden avenues.

“It is significantly bigger” than its previous location in the middle of campus, said Jessica Walden, director of communications and outreach for the College Hill Alliance.

The new bookstore should attract a cross-section of students as well as people from the community, said bookstore manager Bill Green.

“We are happy to move over here and be part of the neighborhood,” Green said.

“Hopefully, people from the community will come in and visit us.”

Workers got into the space Sunday and were hurriedly unpacking stacks of boxes Tuesday to make the 8:30 a.m. Thursday opening.

Barnes & Noble has managed the Mercer University bookstore since 1990, and this past fall it began a textbook renting program that will be continued at the new location, Green said.

“We are just offering a broad variety for students,” he said. “Some want the regular books, some want e-books and some want the rentals.”

The bookstore has been expanding its eTextbooks, which can be read through a free application from Barnes & Noble.

The new store will offer an expanded section of general reading material and more variety of Mercer-labeled merchandise such as shirts and coffee mugs.

“The (Mercer) law school has their own bookstore, now they will have their own section here,” Green said. “So that will be something new.”

The bookstore has kept its same phone number, 301-2945, and a “grand” opening event is expected in March.

The Lofts at Mercer Village, on the upper floors of the building, will offer 30 units for students, which include 117 bedrooms.

“It is going to be completed by the end of March,” Walden said.

Also opened recently, Rodeo Beach Outfitters took over the space occupied by The Bike Store, although it still has an employee there to handle bike repairs and orders, she said.

The new business, which began as an online company out of Florida, carries merchandise such as outdoor apparel and hiking accessories.

Construction is still under way at Mercer Village but all the retail spaces have already been snapped up.

Coming soon on the first floor of the Lofts at Mercer Village are Fountain of Juice, Margaritas Mexican Restaurant and Designer Tan salon, Walden said.

“They are targeted to move in this spring,” she said.

Discussions have already been taking place about another phase of retail space being built next to the existing businesses, she said.

“We are at capacity -- at the lofts and in the village,” Walden said.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.