Photo Story: Bringing The George Washington University Campus Store Vision to Life

March 01, 2024

Explore the grand opening of GW’s signature campus store in downtown Washington D.C.

After a year of planning, strategic conversations, and collaboration with designers, architects, and project teams, The George Washington University campus store announced its grand opening in January 2024. Opening day was packed with members of the GW community, including trustees, campus leaders, students, and administrators, to celebrate the store’s transformation.

“This new state-of-the-art store is now a landmark that says to residents and visitors ‘You have arrived on GW’s campus, and we are happy you are visiting us!’” said Associate Vice President of Business Services, Seth Weinshel.

Browse images of the opening day in our photo story below. Thank you to GW for contributing many of these stunning shots!

Before and After: From Rendering to Grand Opening

Imagining the Future of the GW Store
The old bookstore was in a basement location, almost invisible to the campus community. It was too small to support the volume of merchandise needed to meet the needs of its customers. GW set out to transform their bookstore into one of the premier stores in the country. Follett’s design teams mocked up renderings to align stakeholders on the final vision.

A New Chapter: Highlights from the Renovation

The ribbon-cutting ceremony revealed a reimagined bookstore that caters to the needs of the students, faculty, and staff.

To attract tourists, residents, and members of the GW family, campus leaders partnered with the local community to find a new store location on the corner of a popular Washington DC intersection. The two-story space has large bright windows to make it feel warm and inviting.  
The store features hyper-local DC-inspired merchandise, from wellness products to merchandise celebrating the 2024 Cherry Blossom Festival.

Community involvement was critical to the launch of the new store—from design to departments to the store’s footprint. The GW board worked in partnership with the Neighborhood Association to align on key store elements. Expanding the children’s book section was on the top of the list of improvements.  

“We probably had 600 people at the peak on both levels,” said Follett Group Vice President Aubrey Williamson. “It was exciting! Everybody was just absolutely amazed [at the transformation] and blown away by the outcome.”
The bookstore features a dedicated space for the school’s computer repair center. Students will be able to come in, drop off their equipment if they need to, and shop while they wait for a computer fix. 
The atrium hosts a community event space, designed to be flexible for everything from book signings to parties and events. During the grand opening, a GW jazz band performed.
During the planning meetings, the GW team highlighted the importance of elevated design finishes. Follett helped secure distinct visual accents from sculptures to paintings to furniture to enhance the space.

Congratulations to the GW team for unveiling a spectacular store experience! A special thanks to:

Bruno Fernandes, Executive Vice President CFO 
Seth Weinshel, Associate Vice President, Business Services  
Karen Zinn,  Associate Vice President, Real Estate 
Adam Aaronson, Associate Vice President, Construction Management and Campus Planning 
Chris Todd, Senior Project Manager, Campus Development 
Leslie Ogus,  Director Business Services