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Fairfield U. Opens New Post Road Bookstore

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Rowena Daly-Andrews and her son Teddy arrived at Fairfield’s newest store Friday morning to see a 7-foot felt Stag greet them. It was a scary sight for the 21-month-old Easton boy. But once upstairs, the two found something more to Teddy’s liking — a large row of books featuring Elmo, Thomas the Tank Engine and some of his other favorites.

Fairfield University held a grand opening of its new bookstore on the Post Road on Friday morning. A large group of town officials joined university leaders to cut the ribbon on the new shop. But Rowena and Teddy were among the regular shoppers who just stopped by to check out the new attraction.

“I think it’s great that Fairfield invested in this,” Daly-Andrews said. “You’ve got to have a bookstore in a town.”

The 23,000-square-foot store is located at 1499 Post Road, in the space that once housed Borders Books and Music and Books Warehouse. Fairfield University reached a deal with the property’s owner, Kleban Properties, to take over the space to establish an off-campus bookstore earlier this fall.

Along with books for the university’s students, though, the store also sells bestsellers and children’s books. It also features a 50-seat cafe, which Starbucks will take over in January. There’s a technology center, with laptops and e-readers for demonstration, and apparel from not just the university but also local high schools Fairfield Prep , Fairfield Warde , Fairfield Ludlowe and Notre Dame .

“We anticipate the store to be a vibrant downtown place offering the university’s rich, diverse programming,” said the Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, the school’s president. “The bookstore will undoubtedly be filled with a lot of life: authors doing readings, students performing, the university community showing their artwork and faculty members lecturing on topical issues.”

The store already has events planned through the opening weekend, including talks with local authors such as Hannah Kaminsky and Jan Mann, and musical performances by the String Finger and Mike Falzone, Jivaro Barber and Dylan Connor. Daly-Andrews said she hoped the store will keep bringing in cultural events.

“That would be good,” she said. “If they could make it a gathering place, to give it a kind of different spin, rather than just being a bookstore.”

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