By Jeff Gallatin
Workers at Half Price Books in North Olmsted are getting ready to start a new chapter soon with an expanded storefront in their Columbia Plaza location.
Eleanor Welling, district manager for Half Price Books in the Cleveland area, said when the company was given the opportunity to expand into the area vacated earlier this year by the Cheap Tobacco business, it was an easy decision.
“This store has always been a little cramped in comparison to our other Cleveland area stores,” she said. “So when the landlord asked if we’d be interested in taking over the additional space, we thought it would be a pretty good idea.”
With the move, the store will go from 6,000 square feet to about 8,000 square feet. Work has already gotten underway and is expected to last until early June.
“That will make us comparable to the other Cleveland area stores,” she said. “This store has performed well, so the additional space should help us to do even better.”
She said the additional space will be utilized in different ways.
“All the different sections will have additional room, so we’ll be adding stock in all areas: books, movies, magazines and records,” she said. “But some areas will see a little bit more of an expansion as a result. The children’s area will have more room as well as cookbooks, among others. We’re going to see how the move goes as we go into the new space and make other changes as we see the need.”
She said the additional space could also allow them to do more in the way of special events or activities at the business.
“There really just wasn’t a lot of room to do that with the old setup,” she said. “This should give us a lot more flexibility in that area.”
She said some sections are being temporarily boxed up and/or shifted as the expansion work continues.
“It’s been a little inconvenient for the customers and the staff,” she said. “But as soon as we explain why we’re doing it, they’re all for it, get excited and want to know when all the new store will be ready.”
All the current sections as well as the portion where customers can sell their used books and other media to the store will remain.
“We have a very loyal fan base and niche with people,” she said. “They like the different selections we have as well as the ability to bring items to sell to us. We’re not going to change something that’s working and popular.”
She said the store will remain open for its traditional 20 percent off sale during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
“That’s understandably a very popular event with our customers, so we’re going to make sure the store will remain open for business during that time period,” she said.
Current plans are to temporarily close the store for business early Sunday, June 1, Welling said. Workers will prepare the new expanded store between June 2 and 6, with a possible soft opening the night of June 6, if the store is ready, and a more formal grand reopening on June 7.
“All the staff is excited about the new store as well,” she said. “We’re looking forward to having a bigger and better place to work and interact with the customers in.”