A fortnight-long festival is set to mark the opening of Foyles Bond Street in Chelmsford, featuring authors such as Martina Cole and Jeffrey Archer.
The 4,300 sq ft shop, part of property developer Aquila’s Bond Street retail scheme in Chelmsford city centre, will open its doors to customers on 29th September.
An opening festival of events will take place from 30th September-16th October, with Jeffrey Archer attending a lunchtime reception in 30th September, and Martina Cole officially open the store on Saturday 15th October.
Other authors to appear in the opening two week period include Cressida Cowell, who will open the children’s department on 8th October, and chef Rick Stein, who will hold a book signing.
Mark Jackson-Hancock who has previously managed branches of Hammick's in greater Manchester, Ottakar's in the South East and Waterstones in Putney, will manage the Essex store.
First announced in January, it is Foyles’ first branch of the bookseller to open in the East of England and the third store outside London after Bristol and Birmingham.
The store will be set across two floors, with a “striking” double height bookshelf and balcony on one side, the company said. As with other Foyles stores, booksellers will be equipped with iPads to help customers with information and requests in-store.
The Chelmsford Bond Street development comprises 250,000 sq ft of retail and leisure plus a 275-space basement car park, with retail brands such as John Lewis, Joules, Fat Face, Monsoon, White Stuff and Schuh.
John Browne, finance director and head of real estate at Foyles, said: "Foyles is delighted to be opening in such a prestigious development in Bond Street, Chelmsford alongside so many other brands which are coming to Essex for the first time. Our store here is a real 21st century experience where technology enhances and improves our customer service without getting the way of what readers love most about bricks and mortar shopping experience. Real books are enjoying resurgence at the moment, and we have a fantastic range of lifestyle and children’s titles which we are sure will appeal to Bond Street shoppers.”
Jackson-Hancock added: “Foyles Bond Street will be a warm and family-friendly place at the heart of the community, providing the space where readers can discover and enjoy books in ways that suits them best. Our booksellers are keen to share what they’re reading and meet our new customers.”