From May 14 to July 15, the Starbucks located in Barnes and Noble at Tech Square was under a $300,000-400,000 renovation and it is now open for business.
“It’s actually part of our contract with Starbucks; every ten years you need to renovate the space,” said Rebecca Burke, Café manager of this Starbucks location. This improvement marks the first ten years this location has been open; Starbucks as well as Barnes and Noble were one of the first stores that served the campus when Technology Square was completed in 2003.
“We put in new features such as…. The Wall of Chill, an open-face cooler. It’s actually a new appliance for Starbucks; not many stores have those period,” Burke said.
The purpose of this in-wall refrigerator is to give customers access to this store’s rapidly expanding food options such as sandwiches, bistro boxes, and salads. Other improvements include removing a half wall to put in more seating and removing a dropped ceiling.
In planning the renovation, this Starbucks considered the opening of a new location on Spring Street that replaces the Arby’s, tentatively scheduled for October 2014. While this location has a license with Barnes and Noble and Georgia Tech, the new location is owned directly by the Starbucks Corporation.
“When we get a competitor so close, we want to make sure we’re as beautiful as possible,” Burke said.
While the two Starbucks will offer similar menu items, the location on Spring Streett will have a drive-thru and primarily attract morning commuters. This renovation establishes the Georgia Tech location specifically as a space for studying and meetings. “We’re focused on serving the campus and the direct community surrounding us,” Burke said.
More seating options are offered to better serve the campus customers, which consist mostly of faculty, staff, and graduate students, along with students of the nearby College of Business. Groups can choose to sit at one of the stationary community tables or combine the small, two-person tables.
“Before it was set up more lounge-driven with the couches and chairs and now it’s a bit more intentional with productive studying,” Burke said.
Regular patrons appreciate how new floor plan is more welcoming and conducive to productivity.
“It seems more open and what I mean by open I mean I like the feel to it and then environment. whereas before it felt like more gloomy”, said Jarrett Smith, a frequent consumer. “The tables were smaller and flimsy.”
“I think it’s nice… It’s much more beautiful,” said Dr. Johnson Kakeau, a former Economics professor at Georgia Tech and current Assistant Professor at Morehouse College.This new renovation also addresses safety concerns.
“I used to find a lot of homeless people here,” said Jarrett Smith, a frequent consumer. “It’s not as easy to find a sofa to fall asleep on because it’s not set up that way.”
According to Burke, most people are just happy that the Starbucks is up and running again.