Just in time for holiday shopping, a new bookstore will open in the Lycoming Mall.
Books-a-Million will open Friday where Borders used to be before it closed.
Mark Welker, general manager of Books-a-Million, said the company became interested in the previous Borders location because it was successful before Borders closed all of its stores. It also has little competition in the immediate area.
"They're picking up the lease," Welker said. "(Books-a-Million executives) knew it would be profitable for them."
Books-a-Million is a full bookstore that also has a gifts section, a stationary section, an expanded kids' section and a cafe.
"The cafe is called Joe Muggs Cafe," he said. "It's very similar to what we had before. It's a Starbucks type."
What separates Books-a-Million from other bookstores is the expanded sections of items other than books.
"There's a broader assessment of non-book products," Welker said. "In the kid's department, there's more educational toys. There's Leapfrog toys, puzzles, and a religious section with Bible references."
The gift section makes it easier to shop for the holidays, he said.
Other than the non-book products, Welker said the store is much like the Borders it is replacing. Like Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million will offer a membership card providing discounts on purchases.
The store will also sell a variety of calendars for the upcoming year.
A core staff will return from previously working at Borders, but Welker said they have been hiring additional people also. The store will open with about 40 people.
"It's good for the community," he said. "We had a large group of real, regular customers we'll be glad to see again."
Having a bookstore back in the community will also provide the browsing reader with a chance to look around before committing to a purchase.
"The big difference (between online shopping and shopping in a store) is being able to look at it," he said. "You can read a chapter, a couple paragraphs, whatever you want to do before you make the purchase. We want to give the community and the customers a place to come in and look at new releases."
He said the last two weeks of preparing to open has been getting the building ready, which included putting the sign on the outside of the building and working on the interior of the store.
Nationwide, Welker said there are more than 200 Books-a-Million stores in 23 states. It is the second-largest bookstore chain in the country.
Books-a-Million will be open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.