The landmark Juliet Theater across the street from the Vassar College campus served generations of Hudson Valley moviegoers from 1938 to 1990, ultimately succumbing like many small operations to the competition from larger “multiplex” theaters in shopping malls. Vacant since 2012, the extensively renovated Juliet building will re-open on Friday, August 22, as the location of the new Vassar College Store to serve the campus and the general public.
A day of grand opening activities is planned for Saturday, September 20, and will also celebrate the independent BurgerFi restaurant due to open in the coming weeks in the adjacent storefront of the Juliet building. Activities will begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:00am and continue throughout the day, in conjunction with the neighborhood’s annual Arlington Street Fair.
In its off-campus location at the corner of Raymond and Collegeview avenues, the new Vassar College Store is taking a different business approach than the former on-campus Vassar College Bookstore, placing more emphasis on merchandise for the general public while still serving the distinct needs of Vassar students, employees, alumnae/i, families, and other visitors.
The front section of the 4,500 square-foot store will be a gift shop stocking items from local vendors, basic personal and classroom supplies, as well as personal technology products. Adding to its locally-minded offerings, the store will also display and sell the works of a different community artist each month.
Vassar branded clothing and other college-related items will be featured in the main section of the store. Course textbooks will only be displayed in this area during the opening weeks of Vassar’s two semesters, allowing for more general interest merchandise to be emphasized throughout the remainder of the year.
Restoration of the large iconic “Juliet” neon sign on the main façade of the building is among a variety of physical improvements that have been made to the historic building, along with innovative interior lighting systems that maximize natural light and provide considerable energy efficiency in the store. Several design elements also distinguish the main section of the store. A small stage area at the very rear will be used for events, including performances by campus and community talent. Mounted behind the stage is a replica “Juliet” neon sign, as well a nine-screen LCD display where archival and contemporary film footage and photos will be projected, spotlighting the Arlington neighborhood and Vassar campus among other subjects. Two large Art Deco-influenced sconces from the original Juliet Theater entrance have also gained new life in the new Vassar store; both were discovered and restored during the renovation, and are now mounted in the main section of the store.
Hours for the Vassar College Store will be Monday-Friday 10:00am-8:00pm, and Saturday 10:00am to 6:00pm (closed Sundays), and its phone number is (845) 437-5870.
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.
Tinkelman Architecture of Poughkeepsie provided overall design for the Juliet project, with construction 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.