Bookworms rejoice! is moving along with its plans to expand with a second location inside Terminal 2 of San Diego International Airport.
The airport shop, which is recognized as the country’s oldest family-owned and operated bookstore, is currently scheduled to be open to travelers in Summer 2013. Owners Nancy and Cathy Warwick will partner with retail management company The Hudson Group to manage and operate the airport location, which will formally be called “Warwick’s La Jolla.”
“We have a lot of community pride in the store,” Nancy Warwick said. “This is an opportunity to promote our name and what we think are great books and local authors, as well as promote La Jolla as a whole.”
Warwick’s is praised for its high-quality book selection, unique stationary and gifts, and community events such as book signings, readings and more. The store is frequented by some of the area’s most notable local authors, as well as Pulitzer Prize winners and nationwide best sellers. Open since 1896, the bookstore has become a part of La Jolla history and an undeniable landmark for the community.
Over the years, Nancy Warwick had been weary of expanding the bookstore to a second location on her own. While the bookstore certainly has the customer base that would encourage growth, other factors such as time commitment, location and branding ultimately got in the way. But when approached by The Hudson Group in 2010, Nancy Warwick saw it as a perfect opportunity.
“[Expanding] in this day and age can very easily be a mistake for independent bookstores,” she said. “Some are successful, but for others its high risk. We’re so entrenched in La Jolla and it would be daring to try to open in a different neighborhood. But I knew The Hudson Group would be running the airport store with our name on it, and with our influence and design aspects, so we get the benefits without the risk.”
The expansion is part of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s push to promote the growth of local small businesses throughout the airport as part of “The Green Build,” the largest expansion and renovation of San Diego International Airport in its history. The build adds 10 new gates, and numerous dining and shopping options to the airport.
“The Airport Authority was seeking to add the local flavor to its concession offerings, and Warwick’s is more than just a bookstore—it’s a local institution,” said Rebecca Bloomfield, a spokesperson for the Airport Authority. “In addition to books, the store will also offer paper products and gifts for travelers.”
Nancy Warwick and her staff, including book buyer Adrian Newell, are working closely with The Hudson Group to ensure that book selections and design aspects are in line with their choices. The airport location’s inventory will feature about 30 percent non-book items, such as stationary, pens and other unique gifts.
In addition, while the work-around may be a little more difficult than at the original location, the owners hope to have book signings at the airport as well.
“[Hudson Group] is enthusiastic about the idea of book signings,” Warwick said. “This is new for us and we’re not sure exactly how it will work, but we can imagine an author flying in for an event, and it would be very easy for them to stop at the store, sign some books and take advantage of the opportunity.”
While Nancy Warwick and her staff won’t be managing Warwick’s La Jolla full-time, they plan to remain involved in all the processes, particularly in the first few months of the stores opening. Working together with The Hudson Group, the team hopes to create a “mini Warwick’s” inside the airport. For Nancy Warwick and her staff, preserving the Warwick’s reputation is of the utmost importance.
“Our suggestions have all been taken seriously, and we have spent a lot of time talking about what we like and what we don’t want to see,” she said. “We have so much experience with our customer base. In the new store, I want to see the product that I either carry or one that I’d be happy to carry. The worst thing would be for someone to say ‘that doesn’t look like Warwick’s.”
Warwick’s will be spreading news and updates about the new location both at their store and via their e-newsletters throughout the year. While there is still much to be done before the store is ready, Nancy Warwick is looking forward to opening day.
“It will feel great to see Warwick’s at the airport,” she said. “It’s great for people who are from San Diego, who will be leaving town and being welcomed home by Warwick’s.”