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Borders Books & Music closing Cleveland Heights store on Oct. 2

  • Updated: Sep. 07, 2010, 5:58 p.m. |
  • Published: Sep. 07, 2010, 4:58 p.m.
  • Janet H. Cho, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio - The Borders Books & Music store  at Severance Town Center will close its doors at the end of business at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2.

"The Cleveland Heights store did not meet our financial criteria," said spokeswoman Mary Davis. She did not provide any specifics or details about the lease.

Borders, which operates 674 stores nationwide - including 26 in Ohio - has shuttered half of its Cleveland area stores this year.

Borders Group Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich., the nation's second-largest bookstore chain after B arnes & Noble Inc. , has been struggling to overcome sagging sales in the face of increased competition from online retailers and changing consumer preferences from paper books to e-books and from CDs to digital music downloads.

For the first half of its current fiscal year, Borders' sales and revenues have dropped 14 percent. Its profits have declined 16 percent, to a net loss of $110.8 million.

Its shares closed at $1.04 on Tuesday, down 70 percent from a high of $3.43 last Sept. 23.

The company announced last November that it was closing about 200 of its 330 mall-based Borders and Waldenbooks stores -- including eight stores in Northeast Ohio -- by the end of January 2010.

Those stores are: Borders Express store at Chapel Hill Mall; Waldenbooks at Ashtabula Towne Square; Borders Express at Midway Mall in Elyria; Borders Outlet on Great Northern Boulevard and Waldenbooks at Westfield Great Northern, both in North Olmsted; Borders Express at Parmatown Mall; Borders Express at Stow Community Shopping Center; and Waldenbooks at Westfield SouthPark Mall in Strongsville.

The Cleveland Heights store, at 3466 Mayfield Rd., will hold a going-out-of-business sale until it closes, after which any leftover inventory will be sent to other stores or returned to publishers for credit.

Borders opened that store in February 2000. It currently employs 23 people.

"Employees who are in good standing and who want to stay with the company will be offered the opportunity to apply for open positions at other stores," Davis said.

Those who don't want to stay with the company will receive severance packages.

"We have no immediate plans to close any other stores in Ohio," she said.

"But again, we regularly evaluate our stores to make sure they are meeting our financial objectives and make decisions on a case-by-case basis to close stores that do not meet those objectives."

After the Cleveland Heights store closes, Borders will have nine stores in Northeast Ohio.

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Borders fans mourn the loss of westlake location, loyal customers worry about what the news means for books and the written word., kate spirgen , patch staff.

Book lovers and avid readers are lamenting the recent news that Borders is closing the doors on its 400 remaining stores. It might be good news for local bookstores, but it's bad news for loyal Borders customers.

Casandra Vasu and Scott Girgash used to frequent the Westlake Borders as teenagers, and came out to say goodbye on Thursday.

“We thought that since it was closing, we would come down and check it out again,” Girgash said.

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For Vasu, who is pursuing a Masters degree in creative writing, the news hit close to home.

“It’s bad news, with the emergence of e-readers and everything,” she said. “Since you can get a book for 99 cents online, publishers aren’t going to take a chance on new writers because they don’t have the revenue.”

The Westlake location at the Promenade will most likely be open through September. A store employee said plans are tentative, but they are “starting to liquidate on Friday” and will be open through September.

“I think it’s a shame,” said Patricia Umstead, a preschool teacher who also works at Fairview Public Library. “I think people should have a choice— a lot of people like to have their own libraries at home."

Umstead said staff at the library is also taking the news to heart, with the uptrend in electronic materials.

“That’s what’s frightening,” she said. “Even at the library, we’re seeing a lot of e-books and books on tape, and now you’re going to be able to download them. So even at the library there’s talk of what’s going to happen to books.”

Pamela Wilkins, also an avid reader, stopped by the store when she heard the news.

“I used to shop here a lot, but not as much anymore,” she said, noting that she now buys a lot of her reading material through or downloads it onto her Kindle. “I guess I’m one of the reasons Borders has gone under."

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