Plan To Close Book Store Sparks Borders War In Beverly

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.

  • humboldtwriter

    It is entirely possible that the consumer-friendly practice of allowing people to read books for free while sipping coffee, and then paying staff to return them to the shelves (sometimes stained or damaged) isn’t working anymore. Borders is a bookstore. It can only stay in business if it sells books. It was fun while it lasted! Enjoy your Kindles!

  • scot

    Where were they when things were going bad. No company is going to close a store that is making money. Maybe they should have spent more before and the store would have not been on the close list.

    • Sean

      It’s the second most profitable Borders store in the City of Chicago after the Lincoln Park store.

  • Veronica Williams

    Amen to THAT, scot. Which is why i changed my mind about going to that rally. I supported that bookstore and actually BOUGHT something. Everyone else was in their on the doggone wifi, sipping coffee or stopping by to use the facilities. It’s a shame it’s going because freeloaders and these digital-dependent people didn’t want to support a local business.

  • Megan Baker


  • Darren

    Things are changing with technology this type of store is not going to fit the future.

  • Jim Tryban

    If closing the store is a foregone decision, and looking to the future, what will be done with such a large piece of property with a “big box” building on it? Will it end up the same as the old furniture store/Guitar Center building across the street? That building has been vacant for over 30 years, with a vacant lot next door. With a WalMart 5 blocks away, and a shopping center 4 blocks away, what major businesses (commercial or otherwise) will adopt/remodel them? The conditions sound ripe for razing both sites, and redesign the sites for spaces which are more manageable and capable of being leased: a sit-down restaurant with a license to serve a beer or wine with a meal (no carry-out package goods), a smaller book store without wifi nor coffee shop, a barber shop/hair salon, a bakery, florist, candy shop, clothing consignment shop, clothing/accessory store oriented toward the younger generation, a separate coffee shop with wifi, ice cream shop, cleaners (non in-house processing), all with access to off-street parking. Quite a few of these types of businesses have been here before, but moved out or “went under.” Maybe it is time to attract some of these types of businesses again.
    It is very easy to criticize, but very difficult to think of positive potential future alternatives.
    —A Beverly resident for 38 years.

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