Christy Downey and her husband Ryan sat at a table by the downstairs café, reading and working on a laptop computer. They said they come to Borders often because it is close to their Glendale home, staff are friendly and the environment is more relaxed than at nearby stores.
“You can sit on the floor and read, and no one asks you to get up and leave,” Christy Downey said.
Staffers declined to say how many people work at the Glendale store.
Borders is across Brand from the former site of Mervyn’s, which remains vacant more than two years after the clothing store company went bankrupt.
Helen McDonagh, president of the Downtown Glendale Merchant’s Assn., said Borders “leaves a glaring, vacant hole in our downtown. We need to get someone in as soon as possible.”
Last year, city leaders reported that retailers were interested in the Borders space, as even then speculation surfaced that the company would scale back. Emil Tatevosian, a deputy director in the city’s community development department, said Wednesday this is a challenging time to find new tenants because few retailers are in expansion mode.
Officials with R.A. Glendale LLC, the company that owns the building at 100 S. Brand Blvd., could not be reached Wednesday.
Bookstores have come under increasing financial pressure because of the recession and the rise of online booksellers such as Amazon. In its bankruptcy filing, Borders Group Inc. listed five publishing houses to which it owes between $25 million and $41 million each.
Local booksellers offered mixed views on how the closure might affect them. At Mystery and Imagination Bookshop on Brand, co-owner Christine Bell said, “In general, I believe the more bookstores the better.” But she said Borders customers are not the same as those who come to her shop, which specializes in science fiction, mysteries, collectible books and first editions.
Across the street, Brand Bookshop manager Noriaki Nakano said last week he believes his used-book store benefits from the presence of the chain bookstores down the street.
FOR THE RECORD: This corrects an earlier version that incorrectly stated there was a Borders at the Burbank Town Center.