When the pandemic swept the world in March 2020, book lovers in Jonesboro were dealt a double blow. At the end of the same month of the same year, a powerful E-3 tornado swept through the city center.
He destroyed much of the mall at Turtle Creek, including the Barnes & Noble Booksellers building. There have been rumors for years that the bookstore will be back.
It will be soon.
Haag Brown Commercial announced Wednesday (January 25) that Barnes & Noble will be located at the confluence of Caraway Road and East Highland Drive. It will occupy the former Pier One space at the Crossroads mall, which is adjacent to Office Max. Jeremy Gamble owns the center.
“Perseverance was definitely the key to getting this deal done. The return of Barnes & Noble to Jonesboro for me personally has been going on since March 2020, after the tornado hit our mall. I’m so excited that we can finally make this announcement as we know it’s been a long time,” said Zach Qualls, commercial executive broker at Haag Brown.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The bookstore’s reopening schedule has not been disclosed.
“Having a local owner for this type of property is very important – they personally know the needs and desires of the community and at the end of the day they will shop there with their family. Jeremy Gamble was able to acquire the assets, knew about the need for the bookseller to return to our market, and within 2-3 weeks (literally!) we were able to sign a deal in a former Pier One box,” Qualls said.
This new business will officially launch the renovation of the Crossroads Center at The Uptown at Crossroads. Under the new owner, the 45,000-square-foot complex will undergo numerous aesthetic changes to complement the surrounding growth, including a new color scheme, modern exterior lighting, and improved signage, according to Joshua Brown, director of development at Haag Brown.
“Ideas are great, but the main thing is their implementation. If you cannot comply, nothing happens. We have a local mall owner who is going to make it happen and we have a rental broker who was inspired by the return of Barnes & Noble to our community. This team will do what is good for the community. I’m grateful to be a part of this,” Brown said.
Despite the sharp decline in the bookstore sector over the past two decades, it remains an industry with an annual turnover of $9 billion, according to Statista. Barnes and Noble took over a third of the market with $3.57 billion.
In 2021, paper book sales alone totaled over $700 million. An estimated 65% of adults surveyed said they had read printed books during the past year.