Updated 02/16/11 – 5:10 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Borders Books filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday, and will be closing five stores in the city of Chicago and several more in the suburbs.
They are among 200 stores that will close across the country. In total, Borders operates 642 stores.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports
The Borders stores closing in the city are at 755 W. North Ave. on the Near North Side, 2917 N. Clark St. in the East Lakeview neighborhood, 4718 N. Broadway in the Uptown neighborhood, 2210 W. 95th St. in the Beverly neighborhood, and 6103 N. Lincoln Ave. in the Northwest Side’s Lincoln Village shopping center.
As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, news that the Borders in Beverly would be closing its doors came as a total shock to regulars. It’s not only a favorite meeting spot, but billed as a crown jewel that helped revitalize the local business community.
“It’s devastating that they’re closing,” customer Rashi Spillers said.
Spiller said he brings his two children to the store often to read books.
“I look at that as a family outing. As a dad it’s important for me to bring my children here. I taught my son, seven years old, how to read, right here in Borders,” he said.
Customers said it would mean Beverly residents would have to go much further to find a book store like Borders.
“The suburbs is far from here to go to get our children’s books for school assignments and they gather here and come here and get their favorite drinks while they’re reading,” fellow customer Colette Jones said. “That’s the other advantage, the kids come here, this is the spot.”
For customer Taylor Washington, he said the closing of Borders would mean “I have to walk further down to the library. And, like, my school is down the street from here and it’s easier.”
Customer Christine Brown said she’s lived in Beverly for 21 years and she called the Borders store a “Godsend.”
“There’s nothing else, as you can see, on 95th Street that’s decent.”
Also closing are stores in Evanston, Crystal Lake, Bolingbrook, St. Charles, Deerfield, Matteson, McHenry, Mount Prospect, Norridge and Merrillville, Ind.
Another Borders location, at 830 N. Michigan Ave. on the Magnificent Mile, closed last month, and another and at 1539 E. 53rd St. in the Hyde Park neighborhood, is also preparing to close after a prior announcement.
The store at 150 N. State St. will remain.
Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Borders operates 642 stores in all. All the stores being closed are superstores, spokeswoman Mary Davis said.
Clearance sales could begin as early as this weekend, according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. Borders said it is losing about $2 million a day at the stores it plans to close.
Borders Group Inc. President Mike Edwards said in a written statement that cautious consumer spending, negotiations with publishers and other vendors and a lack of liquidity made it clear Borders “does not have the capital resources it needs to be a viable competitor.”
Borders plans to operate normally and honor gift cards and its loyalty program as it reorganizes.
According to the Chapter 11 filing, Borders had $1.28 billion in assets and $1.29 billion in debts as of Dec. 25. It owes tens of millions of dollars to publishers.
Some Of The Stores That Will Vanish
Many of the stores in slated for closing were part of major redevelopments or upgrades to aging streetscapes when they first opened.
The Uptown location opened with much fanfare in the spring of 2004, in an old Goldblatt’s store that had been shuttered since the mid-1990s. A December 2003 story pointed out that $7 million of tax increment financing money were used to renovate the historic building before Borders moved in.
“Wasn’t that store supposed to be the savior of the Uptown neighborhood?” WBEZ-Chicago Public Radio’s Justin Kaufmann blogged Wednesday. “When Borders moved into the renovated (and long vacant) Goldblatt’s space, it was taken as both a watershed moment for the neighborhood and a high watermark for the economic boom.”
The East Lakeview location has been an anchor of the three-way intersection of Diversey Parkway, Clark Street and Broadway, since 1995, when it took over a space previously occupied by a Great Ace Hardware store in what for many years been a seedy part of the neighborhood then called New Town. In just the past few months, the bookstore has drawn huge crowds for readings and book signings by authors such as David Sedaris.
Bookstores in that densely-populated section of the East Lakeview neighborhood were plentiful not too many years ago, with a Barnes & Noble store just to the south at 659 W. Diversey Pkwy., and a Barbara’s Bookstore just to the north at 3130 N. Broadway. The Barbara’s Bookstore closed in 1996, and the space is now occupied by Wilde Bar and Restaurant, while the Barnes & Noble closed at the end of 2008 and remains vacant.
A handful of used bookstores, and the Unabridged Bookstore farther north on Broadway, will now remain.
The North Avenue location also opened in the spring of 2004, in the then-booming Clybourn Corridor. A decade earlier, the principal destinations in the area had been an old John M. Smyth’s Homemakers furniture store and the New City YMCA, which was opened to serve Cabrini-Green residents.
The area had already grown affluent when the Borders store opened, and its cache has grown since. Nearby, an old BP gas station at Clybourn Avenue and Halsted Street has been supplanted by an Apple Store, and just to the southwest, Whole Foods has expanded its presence.
The Beverly location opened in 1998, also to much fanfare and high hopes. A Chicago Tribune article on May 5, 1998 was headlined, “Beverly pins hopes for 95th renaissance on bookstore.”
The 95th Street store was the first national retailer to open on that stretch of the street, known as “the Quality Mile.” But, as a 2003 Tribune article pointed out, the Borders store never sparked the hoped-for rush of development along 95th Street.
The Borders in Lincoln Village opened in 2003, as part of an extensive facelift of the retail center at Lincoln Avenue and McCormick Boulevard, which was considered the city’s first modern shopping center when it opened in the 1950s.
The Borders replaced the aging Lincoln Village 7-9 movie theater, which had grown run down and was demolished.
The redevelopment that included the addition of the Borders at Lincoln Village was part of a $25 million rehab project for the shopping center, which at the time included an Amazing Savings and an Office Depot, according to the Chicago Tribune.
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