The Bronx will lose one of its beloved gems as the borough’s only major bookstore, Barnes & Noble has announced plans to shutter it doors come January 2017, reports the New York Times.
The Bay Plaza Shopping center bookstore will close due to a rent increase that will welcome a Saks Off 5th retail store in its place, sparking outrage among Bronx residents. "We can’t even afford Saks clothing," one Bronx resident told the Times.
In 2014, the bookstore, which has been open in Bay Plaza since 1999, was nearly forced to close due to the same scenario, but local officials were able to help the chain and the site’s developers come to a common agreement. This time, they weren’t so lucky but it’s not because they didn’t try.
In a statement, Barnes & Noble said that they fought hard to prevent shutting down the Baychester store but just couldn’t afford to pay the increased rent. However, the company promises to seek a new location within the borough once they figure out how to adjust their business model in a world where hard copy books are not as popular as they once were. The brand will work with local officials to ensure their return within the next two years.
"My office will continue to work with Barnes & Noble in the coming months to help identify potential locations for new retail sites in our borough that will work with their updated business model, and we will continue to support our libraries, as well as independent bookstores and other businesses that connect Bronxites with books," declared Bronx borough President Ruben Diaz Jr while remaining adamant that he will work hard in seeing to it that the store reopens soon.
- Outrage in Bronx as Barnes & Noble Is Set to Close [New York Times]