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Barnes & Noble in American Fork to hold Feb. 28 grand opening

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A few years in the making, the new Barnes & Noble at The Meadows in American Fork will open its doors to the public on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Matt Grahl, manager of the new location, has been working for Barnes & Noble for nearly six years.

“We’ve been waiting for American Fork for a long time. Once they got things turned around and started on this trend of opening new stores-four new ones in Utah alone-we finally managed to pull this one together. The growth in Utah is pretty phenomenal,” said Grahl.

The nationwide bookseller has plans to start things off with a bang, beginning with a ribbon cutting by author of “Fablehaven” series, Brandon Mull at 10 a.m. Mull and a handful of other authors will also be present to sign books at different points in the day, including Ally Condie, Julianne Donaldson and Tricia Levenseller.

Because the store is opening on a weekday, grand opening festivities will continue into the weekend to allow more people to join the fun. More authors will be in the store to sign books on Saturday, March 2, and events for kids, including face painting and a meet-and-greet with kids’ book characters are planned.

“We’re excited to get into the community and to create a local bookstore option,” said Janine Flanigan, Senior Director of Store Planning for Barnes & Noble.

Taking the place of the former Bed Bath & Beyond, the new bookstore is a massive 22,000 square feet. This large space uses bookcases to divide the store into genres and independent areas that flow together.

“It’s a journey throughout the store. The bookcases create these fantastic, cozy ‘book rooms,’” said Flanigan.

This location offers a new take on design and colors, such as light wood and pink paint. It’s a lighter, warmer tone compared to the dark wood and mossy green many associate with B&N. The cafe will be decorated with art representative of the community and region.

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“These stores are different. They’re much brighter with a more open atmosphere and a little more inviting,” said Grahl. “The company was in a very different situation than it is now. It’s come a long way and it’s doing very well. James Daunt, our CEO, has really turned it around and gotten us going in the right direction.”

Grahl also noted the significant growth of the bookstore chain in the wake of the pandemic.

“There’s a lot of excitement in books now. Covid had kind of an unusual effect on our industry. It seemed like people, being locked away, got really tired of looking at computer screens and started reading again. “Booktok” [on Tic Toc] has becomesurprisingly big. I don’t get it, but it’s telling people about books and talking about books, and we’re all for that. Whatever gets people there,” he said.

The store will be open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information about Barnes & Noble in American Fork, visit stores.barnesandnoble.com/store/3454.

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