Borders Group, the bookstore chain whose rise helped crush scores of independent booksellers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, announcing the closing of 200 stores, including eight in the Washington area.
One of those eight stores is the one that I used to frequent at 18th and L Streets in downtown DC.
I think this is a sad day. I liked Borders a great deal. More than Barnes and Noble. I can’t say exactly why but I thought Borders was just a better store.
I received several e-mails from Borders, I’m on their e-mail list, stating that the store at 18th and L is closing. Further, that there are great deals to be had if I go there. I went last Friday. I have to say it was pretty well picked over. I didn’t see much that I was interested in. Other people were having a field day. Buying up books by the armful.
A couple of days ago, I received another e-mail from Borders. The title was: Where One Door Closes, Another One Is Open! They thanked me for the years of business at this Borders (I can remember when it was a clothing store). The e-mail went on to say that it’s a quick and easy trip to a nearby store. I was then given the addresses to the two nearest Borders:
Borders, 1201 Hayes St., Arlington, VA
Borders, 8518 Fenton St., Silver Spring, MD
The only thing is that neither of these places is a quick and easy trip for me. Why would I go to Arlington or Silver Spring when there is a Barnes and Noble about five blocks from where I work? (Yes, I don't like the store as well as Borders but as they always say location, location, location) The one in Silver Spring is convenient if I happen to go to the movie theater that is there. And I only go there very rarely.
The one in Arlington is near the Pentagon City Mall. I haven’t been over there in years. The only reason to go in the past was there was a Best Buy there. But now there are two Best Buys in DC. Why would I go to Arlington?
I understand Borders can’t sustain the number of stores it has and stay in business. Thus the reason they are closing the one at 18th and L. But the fact of the matter is the nearest locations are out of the way for me. Unless of course I happen to be in the area for something else which as I said is rare.
Essentially Borders has lost me as a customer. I’m sure I’m not the only person in this situation. The question is how does Borders survive. And I guess the answer is probably it doesn’t.