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First Barnes and Noble to serve three schools opens in Camden

Since 2004, the Camden Technology Center has been a community center of sorts, situated on the campus of Camden County College and flanked by Rutgers University and Rowan University's Camden campuses.

That anchor was solidified last Thursday with the opening of the new Barnes and Noble University District Bookstore and Starbucks Cafe, the first bookstore of its kind in the nation to serve three institutions of higher education.

"There are many people and organizations that love Camden and continue to invest their time and money into projects that will turn the city around," says Camden County College President Raymond Yannuzzi via email.

The project was an investment of $570,000, including $350,000 from Barnes and Noble. It came to be when the contract with Camden County College's prior bookstore service provider expired in February. The school requested proposals from national bookstore operators and Barnes and Noble won out, renovating the existing 13,500-square-foot space that now features a 51-seat Starbucks Cafe. The current contract with Barnes and Noble runs through 2015.

Barnes and Noble has a track record of this sort of thing in the Northeast. In 2006 it opened its first joint bookstore in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Pa., serving King's College and Wilkes University.

Yannuzzi says the first few days have been a success sales wise, "doing well above expectations with customer counts increasing daily." The bookstore fronts busy Cooper Street and is in a building that has a seven-floor public parking garage.

"The foot traffic not only includes students of the three institutions, but also local business people, community neighbors and government officials who now have a casual, comfortable place to meet and conduct business," says Yannuzzi.

Source: Raymond Yannuzzi, Camden County College
Writer: Joe Petrucci
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