Barnes & Noble at Lahaina Gateway Center is staying open
LAHAINA – Remember the old saying, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone?” That may explain the delight expressed by so many customers in the updated news that Barnes & Noble Bookstore in the Lahaina Gateway Center is staying open.
Recent announcements that the lease was not being renewed were followed by news that the store is staying open, sending the employees and customers on a roller coaster of emotions. At present, store Manager Cindy Mauricio, the employees and patrons of all ages have relief and thankfulness written all over their faces.
“Between letters, petitions and phone calls to Barnes & Noble’s corporate office, and people just stopping by – first with condolences and then with congratulations – the community outpouring has been amazing,” Mauricio exclaimed. “I jumped for joy when I received a call from my district manager saying we’re not closing. I couldn’t wait to tell my employees, who had been devastated by the original news. It was all very emotional. I cried a lot!”
Mauricio has been with Barnes & Noble in Lahaina since its opening ten years ago. “The store is truly loved by the West Side community, Maui residents and tourists who need a literary presence,” she said.
“We supply an amazing selection of books, magazines, gifts, music, movies, toys and great food. In addition, we have book signings, story time for the family, special appearances by music artists, science fairs and much more. I especially love all the upcoming holiday activities at Barnes & Noble.”
Mauricio explained, “You can Google anything, but you can’t have the experience of the real book in your hands. Every Saturday, the children are so excited to attend our story time readings. We have regulars and newcomers each week. It’s a great experience for the children to hear, see and hold the books. They smile, they giggle and they have fun. There’s an adventure to be had with time for creativity and imagination. Plus, activities follow the book readings. Read, play, talk and touch – the very foundations for a child’s explorations are offered right here.”
Barnes & Noble employee Amy Vegas, story time reader and cafe staffer, said, “I enjoy reading to the children. I love the things they notice, their ingenuity and their energy. Additionally, I like interacting with customers in the caf. This is truly more than just a bookstore!”
Lahaina resident and participating story time mom Stephanie Janiw said, “Reading is a big part of our family. We’re at Barnes & Noble every Saturday for children’s story hour. My son met another boy here, who turned out to be a neighbor, and now they are best friends. Barnes & Noble is priceless!”
Jimmy Karren from Kahului said, “We come every Saturday for two to three hours. The kids look forward to the experience. My wife and I believe that sitting at a computer screen all day can get dull and stagnant. It is important for our children to interact with other children at the bookstore. Plus, while we might be looking for one thing or subject, this is the place to find other books that are necessary for growth. Barnes & Noble is a treasure for our family!”
Kapalua pre-school teacher Rick Cericola added, “Love the store! I’ve found so many books here to share with the pre-school class as well as a vast assortment for myself. Barnes & Noble staying open is the best news!”
Barnes & Noble employee Lynn Fisher agreed. “I’ve been working here for ten years,” she said. “I’m currently in the Music and DVD Department and love serving the community. It would have been devastating if the store actually closed. So many activities take place here. Plus, our employees travel around the island for book fairs to service those who don’t have cars. Cruise ship captains stop by for DVDs and books for the ship, making us known around the world.”
“The most important thing is that people read,” Mauricio concluded.
“I’m glad there are more options such as e-books and tablets, which we sell at Barnes & Noble. Nevertheless, the stock of books at Barnes & Noble is invaluable. It provides the book you didn’t know you need. In addition, visiting our bookstore has advantages compared to ordering online. For example, based on the customers’ preferences, our staff gives one-on-one advice and recommendations to book enthusiasts who don’t know how to find what they want.”
The era of the World Wide Web has definitely changed the role of bookstores in society. However, nothing can replace the experience of visiting a bookstore.
Barnes & Noble Lahaina has a coffee shop with lunch, desserts and beverages. The store hours are Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Holiday hours might differ. For more information, call (808) 662-1300.