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EXECUTIVE PROFILE: Jill Bareford, Savannah manager, Barnes & Noble Booksellers

Jill Bareford

store manager, Barnes &Noble Booksellers

- Oglethorpe Mall, 7804 Abercorn St., Savannah, GA 31406

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Family

Son Sam, 6, a student at May Howard Elementary School and husband Lee Bareford, who does inter-library loans at Armstrong State University.

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Background

I had a college job at Barnes &Noble when I was at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. I graduated in May, 2000 and moved to New Orleans. I was looking for another job and got one at the Barnes &Noble store in New Orleans. I ended up with a fabulous boss. She saw I had a talent for management. I’ll have 20 years working for Barnes &Noble in December.

I’ve worked in the café, as a bookseller, I ran the children’s department, I was assistant manager in New Orleans. I transferred to Atlanta and ran the store in Buckhead. I’ve transferred as manager to four different stores. I ran Perkins Row in Baton Rouge and the city store in Baton Rouge and then Savannah. This is a busy place. I like being in a busy place.

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What she does

I hire people, I mentor. We move books around all day. We work with local authors and set up book signings. We work with teachers and nonprofits and businesses. We do fundraisers called book fairs. We invite patrons to shop at our store and we give 20 percent of the purchase to the nonprofit. Teachers get 25 percent off anything in the store. We’ll go to new teacher orientations to show teachers we want to give them a discount. Also we offer bulk discounts to schools. We do this in Effingham, Bryan, Liberty and Toombs counties.

When we do book signings, we have a local authors’ night. Customers love it. They meet an array of authors. We had one April 29 with five authors. In October we had 13 authors. Sometimes authors of cookbooks make something from the book and they’ll have it in a crock pot. Food brings people to the table.

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Employees

48 people including myself. We have six managers, two assistant managers, the café manager, a receiving manager and two merchandising managers. We’re currently hiring for a new position, a community manager, someone who goes out in the community to talk about our programs.

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Why she’s successful

I really take time to listen to my customers and my employees. I don’t think one person should make all the decisions. I’m really collaborative, open to suggestions. People like working that way.

Favorite quote: “Ask yourself what’s the best I can do. Then do that.” By Elizabeth Gilbert. She wrote “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Big Magic.”

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Professional achievement

The Savannah store was in a lot of trouble. They handpicked me to take the position. There was a lot of turnover. They weren’t opening boxes. They would leave two to four shipments without getting them in the store. It was just poor management.

Within six months, we solved a lot of issues. This was a good store. We made a positive change. It went from a place where people didn’t like to be to a place to be…It was a total team effort.

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Personal

achievement

My husband and son. Sam is the light of my life. And they supported me when we picked up and moved from Louisiana.

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Future plans

I’d like to stay with Barnes &Noble and continue to help Barnes &Noble be viable, help keep Barnes &Noble viable in this community. Ultimately, I’d like to work with multiple stores as district manager.

Tips for other businesses: Stay open to new ideas. Listen to people who shop with you. Listen to people who work for you.

Things to avoid: If it’s too much about only your decisions, you alienate people. Be approachable.

The other thing I don’t do. I don’t allow anyone hired whom I don’t interview myself. When you let other people do that for you, sometimes you let go your standards.

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Why the Savannah area works for us

It’s such a beautiful place to live. It’s exciting that we are one of the only bookstores in Savannah. I like the style here, the small town feeling; people are so open, warm and friendly.

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Mission statement

Barnes &Noble strives to give exemplary service.

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Contact

(912) 353-7757

Web site: BN.COM

Email: crm2015@bn.com

— Lanie Peterson

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