Thursday, April 23, 2009

On The Borderline? has a dire prediction that could affect Uptown: Borders Bookstore Chain is one of 12 major brands that will disappear over the next year.

“Borders (BGP) has struggled for several years as the No. 2 book store behind Barnes & Noble. When Border's released its last set of earnings it said it would cut the number of Waldenbooks stores from about 300 to 50 or 60. With Border's losses, that won't be enough. The pressure from online book operations led by Amazon (AMZN) and new e-book readers is overwhelming Borders. Borders recently extended its $42.5 million senior secured term loan, moving the due date to April 1, 2010. That may be the day that Borders goes away.”


  1. This has been rumored for a long time now. It bothers me because there are NO Barnes and Noble stores located conveniently for me. I work near the Borders on Michigan Ave. - which they've already said they're closing. I live easily close to the one in Uptown, though it's true I rarely go there because I'm more frequently in the Clark & Diversey area for other shoppping so I go to that one.

    But Barnes & Noble? There's a Webster Place one which isn't very convenient to a CTA-only person like myself. Or there's a State & Elm one which, again, is nowhere near my usual routes. Beyond that, it's a trek to Evanston.

    Basically if all the Borders close, it'll be Amazon-only for me.

  2. Love or hate the upcoming Target, it stands to reason that this retail space and that would make good bookends for the community and draw businesses in between.

    As much as I'd hate to see the Borders go, it's always a ghost town in there and I've been surprised it has survived as long.

    Would be awesome to get a DSW or a Kohl's or other larger, more traffic driving yet neighborhood appropriate retailer in there

  3. This is not to surprising. Since the advent of the internet and, more to the point, sites like Amazon, brick-and-mortar bookstores have been struggling to keep relevant. Hence the number of bookstore/cafes. When I shop for books I typically use which gives you an ordered list of suppliers and the total cost including shipping. When Border's is cheapest I can get it immediately (when in stock) or have it shipped to the store (here in Uptown) for pickup, but typically there are other retailers offering a better price. Most of these are former mom-and-pop bookstore finding their own way to cope with the recent market.

  4. What upcoming Target would this be d?

  5. I have not gone to the Borders since I joined Amazon Prime. For three bucks I can get any book I want by tomorrow, which is just waaay more convienent.

  6. Too bad such venerable local institutions like Stuart Brent's bookstores and Guild Books were victims of these mega-bookstores. For real service by people who KNOW, LOVE and LIVE books, there's no place like the locally owned store (or the library).

  7. Sometimes I feel stupid and naive. Nonetheless I'm still amazed at how much people will sacrifice their own neighborhoods for the convenience of staying home and ordering on-line or in the mail and they will save a dime on cucumbers to the detriment of their local grocer. Shopping in your own local environs may be a bit more expensive and cause you to leave the comforts of home but there's more to lose than that extra 30 pounds hanging on to your fat ass.

  8. And, Chuck, oftentimes those (censored) "shipping and handling fees" from on-line bookstores balance out the savings on price.

    The appeal of blowing out your credit card and making yourself vulnerable via Internet shopping eludes me. Unless you're truly home-bound, in which case it's a blessing.

  9. Windy City Eagle..
    Don't you pay $80.00 a year for that Amazon Prime membership? I like Borders. I'm in there several times a month. I get discount coupons via email and I have counted at least 10 -20 people in the store everytime I go in. Losing any business in Uptown is a bad thing. unless it's Popeyes.

  10. The sales tax is slowly making its impact. Commercial real estate is in big trouble in the United States.

    This is only the beginning.

  11. "For real service by people who KNOW, LOVE and LIVE books, there's no place like the locally owned store (or the library)."

    gayle, I know what you mean. The development world calls these types of mega chain stores "Category Killers" because they put the mom & pop's out of business. Just wait until Target opens their doors. (if they ever actually do) The few remaining Uptown mom & pops will really struggle to compete then.

    Target will struggle too, not unlike Borders, if they don't benefit from any supporting area retail. Even Helen has admitted recently that retailers shy away from leasing in Uptown because of the heavy concentration of subsidized housing.

    Just think what happens to malls when they only have two struggling anchor stores and no common area tenants. Eventually they become boarded up brownfields.


  12. I think Dan's comment sheds more light on the issue than one might think. He says:

    "I live easily close to the one in Uptown, though it's true I rarely go there because I'm more frequently in the Clark & Diversey area for other shoppping so I go to that one."People tend to consolidate their leisure shopping because it is time effective. This is partly why malls are popular and why Marshall Field's was so beloved. (RIP) Personally, I hate the Clybourn Corridor but I can get so much accomplished in one trip!

    -a new shower curtain liner
    -new bathing suits for my kids
    -organic apples
    -microwaveable storage containers
    -a venti soy latte

    My errands are done and I feel like wondermom!!!!

    I must say, I try really hard to do the same in Uptown. It is not impossible but it does take some forethought and planning and even resisting purchasing things when you are elsewhere in the city.

    If this Borders closes it will be a very unfortunate thing for Uptown. Recently, I was able to not only get a last minute birthday gift there but also stock up on some future presents. (BTW: there are a few finds in the bargain CD bin. Anyone looking for a recording of Turandot?) After my trip to Borders, I came home elated that I could accomplish what I needed to do in my own neighborhood. Its a relatively recent phenomena (I don't buy b-day presents at Unique Thrift even though I do shop there.) Please, everyone, do what you can to help build "critical mass" here in Uptown. We have so far to go until this is a neighborhood in which local residents can walk to get the majority of their shopping done. Everything is too spread out and the mix is too haphazard.

  13. If they do close down I would like to know who purchases music for this store in particular. I've found some nice albums there that are sometimes too rare to find in other indy shops like Reckless Records (picked up THE Neutral Milk Hotel album and some MBV in the past years) and it's selection is infinitely better than even other Borders. While I am temporarily relocated in the 'burbs, each time I am back in the neighborhood I enjoy stopping in and seeing what else I can find.

  14. Even Helen has admitted recently that retailers shy away from leasing in Uptown because of the heavy concentration of subsidized housing.And yet, she still packs in the housing.


  15. I'm surprised AOL didn't put themselves on their own list (though, if they don't consider themselves a "major brand", fair enough). Who knew AOL was even putting out content at all these days? Talk about irrelevant...

  16. Not sure I agree totally with Chuck. It is good to support local businesses, but at some point, avoiding the constant stream of beggers, smelling of piss at most entry ways and walking past the crowds at the local methadone clinic make staying home a better option.

    Maybe once the neighborhood hits rock bottom with the slum housing going in, Chuck will reconsider his opinion.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Matt - uptown is better than it ever has been. not paradise, but on an upswing from the 80s-90s for sure, even though it is an extremely gradule upswing.

    do you remember what it was like before the borders? the beggers, piss, methadone clinic and "slum" housing are nothing new.

    secondly. borders isn't a local business. it's a national chain. shake rock n roll is a local business that sells books and music.

  19. Once upon a time (up till the late 80s/early 90s) the Borders building housed a Goldblatt's dept. store. For those not familiar with the history, Goldblatt's was a family-owned chain of "blue collar" department stores, sort of like Wal-Mart but with better service and even quality of merchandise. What the store lacked in aesthetic appeal was balanced by the fact that, up to its demise, it was always BUSY with customers from every walk of life, language and even income level. (Middle-class folks knew where the good "bargains" were, especially in home furnishings and kids' goods.)

    From mass-market dept. store to catgetory-killer specialty store to...what? Story of the past few decades of the American economy in a nutshell.