Wednesday, July 14, 2010

UBS Bellevue remodel news

“And visqueen shall rain from the sky”, or so it seems at the Bellevue branch of the University Book Store. Construction has begun on the illuminating remodel at our eastside store, bringing two skylight platforms, and a redesigned fa├žade with high placed windows, for a flow of natural light. So with the heavy white protective barrier of visqueen in place in the front of the store, and draped like a Christo installation in two places in the middle of the store, we try to maintain a “business as usual” flair of bookselling. So far, we are succeeding.
With construction brings noise and cacophony, and people in orange vests with hard hats, and deep tans from the solar assault of working on top of the bookstore. Now that summer has finally arrived, “hydrate” has become their mantra. The sales staff is ready to assist in the navigation of the floor as it continues to morph to accommodate the construction traffic.
Large openings in the ceiling bring about the dares of playing chicken with the weather gods. This time, the gods were laughing. A large tarp covering the newly cut openings blew off in a downpour late one night, thus dousing the middle portion of the sales floor with water. This catastrophe was not evident until the morning crews arrived and discovered some cases of books and clothing racks were quite moist, and that the carpet was now ready to house sea life. Extra members of the construction crew were brought in to assist with the cleanup, while bookstore staff began to pull the soaked and the dampened off the floor. Everyone pitched in with a “we can do it” attitude and we had the store opened with only an hour of delay. Just when we thought no one would want to patronize the store under such disheveled conditions, our customers proved us wrong and came out to shop. The resulting damage was minimal to the merchandise, and the crew was able to resume construction with only one day of delay.
As I write this, one entire book information counter is now draped with plastic, as crews work above to redirect a drain pipe. And the familiar beepings of loaders and hydraulic lifts greet the morning store staff. There is excitement in the air as the remodel progresses, and staff and customers alike are sharing in the joy that once the visqueen is folded, and the scaffolding has been put away, that it was all worth it.

--David, Bellevue branch

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