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New Borders concept promotes interactivity


ANN ARBOR, Mich. Borders will open the first of its new concept stores on Feb. 22 in Ann Arbor, Mich., where it is headquartered. The 28,900-square-foot concept store is the first of 14 the company expects to open nationwide this year.

"This is a completely new shopping experience that sets Borders apart from every other store," said Borders Group ceo George Jones. "We've stayed true to what our customers have always loved about Borders—deep and intelligent selection, knowledgeable staff, and a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere. Yet, we've brought a fresh new look and an exciting interactive dimension to the store with a Digital Center where customers can do everything from mix and make their own custom CDs, download books and music, publish their own books, explore their family history, and create photo books—all without being computer experts because we have trained people there to help every step of the way."

The new concept store stands out from other Borders starting from the exterior, the company said, which features large windows, and a louvered construction that is meant to evoke images of the pages of a book. The outside area also includes a seating area for the cafe that includes lighting designed to stand out against the evening sky.

Inside the store, Borders reported, customers will find tables showcasing the latest book titles and an illuminated stand highlighting noteworthy items. The company added that comfortable seating in a warm environment encourages customers to stay in the store as long as they wish.

A major feature of the store is the new Digital Center. According to Borders, this includes multiple computer kiosks for music and book downloading. Customers can also mix and create their own custom CDs using the Borders Digital Music service. Photo printing services are also available.

A unique component of the Digital Center is the Borders Genealogy Services feature, provided by, which helps customers track their family history.

Aspiring offers can use the Digital Center to publish their own work using Borders Personal Publishing powered by According to borders, some customer-written books may eventually be sold in Borders stores.

The concept store will give special focus to travel, cooking, wellness, graphic novels and children’s categories. These topics will be have their own “shop within a shop” look and feel, with books and related items all in one place.

"Overall, customers need to know that there is something you offer as a retailer that they cannot find anywhere else," Jones said. "That's just what we are doing with these unique destinations within our concept store. We are putting a stake in the ground when it comes to these categories by making the assortment and the experience so interactive and compelling, that customers will bypass competitors to come to us to shop within these key categories as well as the rest of the store."

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