It’s hard to love big box stores.
But it’s easy to love Barnes & Noble — at least, the Westport one.
Sure, since it opened here more than 20 years ago it’s knocked off independent bookstores, plus toy stores and music stores and gift shops. But the selection is so good, and the managers are so community-minded, that we don’t really blame Barnes & Noble itself for all that.
The store reaches out to local authors, and treats them exceptionally. Barnes & Noble also is there for every school fundraiser and educators’ event — and not just for Westport schools, but the truly needy in Bridgeport too.
The real reason we love Barnes & Noble though, is the people. It’s rare these days — especially at big box stores — but the staff genuinely cares about helping customers. Plus, they know their stuff. That’s a winning combination.
The other day, I had a rare issue with a return. I contacted Tricia Tierney, the community relations coordinator I’ve known for years.
Almost immediately, she made things right. She figured out the problem, and solved it. Then she went waaaaay beyond, making sure I was okay with the solution, and apologizing on behalf of her staff.
It’s fashionable these days to think the only folks who care about customers are local mom-and-pops. It’s important, every so often, to acknowledge the Big Guys when they show small-town service.
For well over 20 years, Barnes & Noble has been a big part of Westport, in all the little ways that count.
Oh, yeah: Thanks for bringing back those comfy chairs too!
(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email firstname.lastname@example.org)