A new independent Vassar College store will open late this summer in the former Juliet Theater space across from the campus at the corner of Raymond and Collegeview avenues in the Town of Poughkeepsie. The fully public store will succeed the current Vassar Bookstore on campus which the college has jointly operated for many years with the Barnes & Noble company. Adjacent to the Vassar store a BurgerFi restaurant will also open in a portion of the Juliet space.
Among the college’s key goals for its new store is to provide students a more versatile and affordable textbook service, including more online purchasing options. The store will also sell Vassar branded clothing, certain stationery items and supplies, as well as greeting cards and gift items, including merchandise produced by local companies and supporting local tourism. It will be affiliated with the National Association of College Stores.
Distinctively, the single-floor 5,700 square-foot retail space will also include a small performance area for artists from the college and the local area. Vassar intends to host events at the store as well.
“We're excited about our store and the restaurant combining to create a new neighborhood gathering place for everyone, as part of Vassar’s ongoing commitment to the vitality of the Arlington area,” said Robert Walton, Vassar’s vice-president for finance and administration. “The move into the Juliet space also allows for the college to make other uses of the current bookstore space on campus."
The BurgerFi restaurant group has come to be known for cooking with all-natural ingredients, building with environmentally sustainable best practices, as well as maintaining a low carbon footprint and strict recycling programs for oil, cardboard, bottles and cans. Its new 2,900 square-foot operation will include easy walk-through to and from the Vassar store.
The new Vassar store and the BurgerFi restaurant are expected to open in August before the start of the college’s fall semester, and a grand opening event will be held during the annual Arlington Street Fair on Saturday, September 20.
Staff at the Vassar store will continue to be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Tinkelman Architecture of Poughkeepsie is providing overall design for the Juliet project, and the Vassar store is being built out by Arris Contracting Company, Inc. of Poughkeepsie.
The Juliet property has been vacant since 2012 and held since 2001 by College Properties, LLC, a taxable wholly-owned subsidiary of Vassar College. College Properties was established by Vassar in 1999 to purchase and manage real estate adjacent to the college to help promote a vibrant Arlington area. College Properties owns five properties and has a long term lease on another in the neighborhood.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.
-Photo by Willa McCarthy '92