April 4, 2009
Books is books, right?
In January, Regency Mall said goodbye to Waldenbooks, one of its first tenants.
Now say hello to Books for Less. In the same storefront, no less.
Books for Less opened a week ago, taking advantage of Waldenbooks' left-behind shelves and sales counter. About half of them were loaded with books and craft items for sale. But it is not the same mix of best-sellers and current magazines that Waldenbooks offered. Instead, the store will sell closeout, discontinued and remaindered books.
At discount prices.
Store manager is Kari Davis. Books for Less "is the first outlet of a new chain" that hopes to open more stores in many of Waldenbooks' vacated spaces. Partners in Books for Less are friends from Texas, North Carolina and Tennesee -- among other places -- who had been in the book-selling business. At least one of them was with the Giant Book Sale, another nationwide mall scavenger, which filled Regency Mall's vacated Linens and Things space for three months around Christmas.
Waldenbooks closed more than 100 stores in 2008, and the final 400-or-so appear to be endangered as well. Thousands upon thousands of retail stores of all stripes are expected to close across the country this year, giving mall managers everywhere fits. Regency also lost Steve and Barry's and Zales after Christmas. A story in the New York Times this morning tells how some malls are putting wave-making machines and even discount stores like Big Lots into empty storefronts, in an effort to attract kids -- and avoid totally dark retail spaces.No idea whether one of them might find its way here one of these days...
And speaking of Big Lots... ours, at 4101 Durand Ave. next to Piggly Wiggly, is due to close in May. Hmmmm.