Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Fate of the Borders

No, not those borders; I'm talking about the defunct book store chain. There was one near my first apartment in Knoxville that Marko and I used to walk to a couple times a week. 

I remember going there with my old iBook to use their internet because they were one of the first places in the neighborhood other than Krystal that had wifi and their little cafe smelled of coffee rather than greasy sliders.

Anyway, it seems their size and their architecture make them unusually hard to repurpose as retail spaces...
But along with the memories, the worthless plastic, and a throwback webpage on the Barnes & Noble website welcoming former Borders customers, Borders lives on in the form of its vacated real estate, the afterlife of which is still unfolding. Storefronts in the category-killer segment have proven difficult to fill in recent years—many of the category killers who would otherwise lease them are themselves struggling or defunct, and the spaces tend to be too small for discount department stores and too large for most others. They’re useless to a Walmart or Target, which have fewer competitors than they had even twenty years ago; and they’re too large for things like drugstores, specialty shops, and most small businesses.
I hadn't realized that they originally outsourced their online sales to Amazon. That seems an exotic form of suicide for a brick and mortar bookstore chain in the early 2000's.