Jun. 3—When Books-A-Million reopened in a new location in Aiken on Thursday, Debbie Olney was ready to shop.
"I'm ecstatic," she said while checking out the offerings in the romance section of the new Kalmia Plaza-based store near Roses and Ollie's Bargain Outlet.
Olney also was planning to make some purchases for her grandchildren.
To find a wide selection of reading material, "I don't have to go all the way to Augusta to Barnes & Noble or 2nd & Charles anymore," Olney said. "It saves gas, and it saves time."
When asked if she had been a customer at Books-A-Million's former location at the Aiken Mall, Olney said she had visited that store "many times" prior to its closure last July.
The Aiken Mall site is being redeveloped, and the section of the shopping complex that was Books-A-Million's previous home has been demolished.
Kayla Cox, who was the general manager at Books-A-Million's Aiken Mall location, holds the same position at the Kalmia Plaza store, which covers approximately 7,000 square feet.
"We are so happy to be back home," she said. "We had people here at 15 minutes before 10 (o'clock) this morning waiting to come in. There wasn't like a huge line, but we had maybe five people come through the doors right away, and they've just kept coming all day long."
Books-A-Million in Kalmia Plaza has 13 employees.
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
"It's a brand new prototype," said Cox of the layout and design. "Within about six hours, this is the only Books-A-Million you're going to see that looks like this. It's cool to be part of that.
"The shelves are taller, and we have focal walls, which are new features. We've got the Paper Shop and Games & Puzzles. We have a Pop Culture wall."
Behind the cash registers is a wall that has a quote by the late Pat Conroy, a well-known South Carolina-based author, on it.
"I love it," Cox said. "It was made just for us."
The store has "a fresh and modern look and feel," according to a Books-A-Million corporate news release.
Books-A-Million's Aiken Mall location had a café, but the Kalmia Plaza store doesn't.
A grand reopening celebration is scheduled for June 11.
"The community has been very supportive and anticipating the opening of our new Books-A-Million for almost a year," said Books-A-Million Regional Manager Rose Thomas in a prepared statement. "We have our original management team and new team members that are so excited about the new store concept."
The Kalmia Plaza location's address is 1650 Richland Ave. W. No. 195.
The Books-A-Million chain has more than 200 Books-A-Million stores in 32 states.
For more information, visit booksamillion.com and the Books-A-Million (Aiken, S.C.) page on Facebook.