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Plan To Close Book Store Sparks Borders War In Beverly

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Ald. Ginger Rugai (19th) takes part in a demonstration opposing the closing of a Borders book store. (CBS)

Ald. Ginger Rugai (19th) takes part in a demonstration opposing the closing of a Borders book store. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — They’re not willing to turn the page. Residents of the southwest side Beverly neighborhood are battling to save their local Borders bookstore.

The store, at 2210 W. 95th St., is one of five in the city that’s been ordered closed by the company now in bankruptcy. CBS2’s Mike Parker talked with some of the customers who are trying to challenge that decision.

Folks in the 19th Ward lobbied hard to get the store in their neighborhood, and they are trying to get a stay of execution.

Some 75 people demonstrated outside the store Monday afternoon. Among them was Kathleen Riordan, who says her little twins, Megan and Morgan, are also devotees.

“It’s a special treat to come here and pick out books on their own,” she said.  “That inspires them to learn.”

“It’s important to our kids. It’s important to our whole family. We come here often to read, socialize and purchase,” parent Karen Clark said.

Community activists from the Beverly Area Planning Association have been organizing the book lovers.

“If this store closes, we’ll lose the last national book retailer on the entire South Side of Chicago,” BAPA director Matt Walsh said.

The group is also marshalling its forces through a Facebook page that now has more than 1,200 supporters. Lori Hile is one of them. She used to work for Borders as a marketing executive.

“There will be one store left in the city of Chicago, a city of 3 million people. That will leave a huge, huge gap on the South Side,” Hile said.

But her former bosses don’t seem to be budging. In an e-mail, a corporate spokesman said that while the troubled chain appreciates the show of customer loyalty, “ the decision is final.”

Ward 19 Ald. Ginger Rugai says not so fast.

“I don’t know that you can let anything be final until this is shuttered,” she said.

Rugai said the city law department is pouring over the redevelopment agreement that brought the store to her ward. She’s looking for a legal way to keep the store going.

“It’s a fight worth fighting,” Walsh said.

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