Rebuilt Bookman’s opens in Flagstaff
It was barely 11 months ago when the roof of Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange collapsed due to heavy snow build-up in a large snowstorm, ruining much of the merchandise and forcing the store to close so they could rebuild.
With employees preparing the store to open since 1:30 that morning, Bookman’s re-opened it’s doors for the first time in nearly a year at 9 a.m. on Dec. 16.
The people who made it out to the event walked in to see a customer service desk with a new banner: “Welcome to Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange,” written in several different languages.
The new Café is on the left, and a group of staff was already working behind the counter Thursday. The coffee venue is much larger than it was before, and the floor space is more open. The entire store is brighter than is used to be, and the shelves are painted orange instead of red to better fit the colors of the brand name. Overall, the refurbished and rebuilt Bookman’s has a more modern and organized look than its predecessor.
The lighting is a big deal for some of the customers — the store is twice as bright as it used to be with florescent lighting.
Theo Davis, a NAU graduate, said he was excited to have the outlet back in Flagstaff after last winter’s events.
“Missing Bookman’s was like missing my girlfriend,” said Davis. “It was like a breath of fresh air [having it] being back here.”
Bob Oldfather, the founder and CEO of Bookman’s, made it to the big re-opening. His black hat and green shirt made him stand out in the crowd as people approached him to talk.
“We tried to find the very best equipment and lighting. We tried to do everything we could,” said Oldfather. Some of the equipment that they managed to get was a $15,000 Italian espresso maker, which Oldfather said he took a lot of pride in.
New signs posted on the side of the wall where different sections of books were displayed, intended to make it easier to navigate and find the books needed. The magazine shelf is next to the music section — this offered more lighting to those paging through selections.
Both the music and movies sections have grown in size and seem more organized. There are still vinyl records and CDs.
Their newest addition was the “Gallery,” a section for collectible items. Before the collapse, Bookman’s used to just have these items displayed either in the electronics section or just randomly around the store.
Brian Sun, a graduate of NAU, said Bookman’s is a part of his connection to Flagstaff.
“Being here reminds me of old memories,” said Sun. “I spent a lot of time here.”
With 95 percent of the inventory lost due to damage from moisture, the insurance policy paid out about $2.6 million to replace the inventory. Because of that, Bookman’s was able to replace a lot of things and still was able to pay the workers during the time of the rebuild while working in the warehouse.
Another $400,000 was used to help redesign the store that would allow them to expand the Café. They used a lot of their ideas from the store in Mesa.
Oldfather said the new renovations help alleviate any concerns about his store collapsing again, and the fall of the previous building was inevitable.
“I’m not worried about the foundation again, the building was 40-years-old. It was bound to happen,” said Oldfather.