Notre Dame closes bookstores for week to undergo renovations
Alysa Guffey | Monday, March 7, 2022
While students are away on spring break for the week, Notre Dame is closing its bookstores to transition its operators and renovate the physical stores.
Notre Dame signed a deal with Barnes & Noble College, sports merchandise company Fanatics and athletic headwear retailer Lids in June 2021, beginning the transition of operators for the stores. A renovation date of March 2022 was chosen so the bookstore could close while most students were not on campus and so operations could run smoothly before Commencement Weekend and the start of the fall semester, the University’s director of strategic initiatives Gracie Gallagher said.
The Hammes Bookstore on campus closed at the end of the business day Friday and will reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 14. Meanwhile, the Eddy Street location, along with the Starbucks inside the store, closed at the end of business day Saturday and will reopen at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 14.
The renovation of the store will include a “facelift” and a rearrangement of apparel and merchandise, Gallagher said. The facelift consists of new carpeting, flooring, wall coverings and paint.
In the campus bookstore, some of the women’s and kids’ merchandise will move to the first floor with the men’s apparel, allowing for a more cohesive family shopping experience, Gallagher said. An Under Armour family collection display will also be added. Higher-end brands, such as johnnie-O and Peter Millar, will be located on the second floor with the jewelry collection.
A brand-new “custom zone” will be available for customers to personalize their purchases on site.
“You can buy a hat or a T-shirt or something and have something stitched or pressed on it,” Gallagher said. “You can either shop while it’s getting done, or you can choose your design and customize it on the screen and then watch it get stitched.”
As a store manager, Jed Hanawalt oversees the day-to-day operations of the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore. He said the experience will be both “fresh and new” to everyday guests.
“The guest will see a new modern and sleek look, with collections and featured departments. From our new Hat Zone to Custom Zone, our guests will have an experience like never before,” Hanawalt said via email.
After March 14, the store will not close again; rather, it will continue an open renovation. University staff has been preparing for the weeklong renovation extensively.
“It’s going to be a crunch and grind [this week], but I feel like we have done everything we can to prepare to this point,” Gallagher said.
With the new partnership, Barnes & Noble will oversee the operations of the store, along with the course materials and free book exchange program, while Fanatics will oversee the licensed merchandise.
Lisa Crowe, director of stores for Barnes & Noble College, said the company is excited to bring a new courseware and retail experience to Notre Dame while continuing the school’s rich tradition.
“Delivering progressive new concepts to the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, while honoring all that makes the University of Notre Dame such a special and sacred place, is at the forefront of our partnership,” Crowe said via email. “A reimaged digital and physical college store experience will celebrate the school’s past, present and future.”
Gallagher said she and her team hope the updated course materials program will be “smoother and easier.”
“From what I’ve heard from our faculty colleagues so far, it seems to be a really easy process for them,” Gallagher said.
Student charges and Domer Dollars will still be accepted after the renovation, Gallagher said.
One of the most notable changes at the main bookstore will be the absence of Einstein’s Bagels — which typically garnered long lines on weekend mornings. Gallagher said her team and Campus Dining looked at the restaurant as part of its Retail Dining Master Plan. A new vendor has not yet been determined, but Gallagher said the new option will be a similar concept to Einstein’s.
“We’re still in conversations,” Gallagher said. “It will have some form of a coffee concept with some form of a food concept as well.”
A grand reopening event will likely be held in August, Gallagher said, once the entire renovation is complete.