For weeks I had been hearing rumors that the on Watson Road in Crestwood was closing. I thought to myself, "No way, they must be talking about a Borders somewhere or something else in Crestwood Court." I was in denial.
For nearly a year our region of 12 Patch editors had our weekly Wednesday morning team meeting at this Barnes & Noble. I had my first quiche in this café (I’m a late-food bloomer). I’ve done endless browsing through the shelves, purchasing books, games and gifts for friends.
And, at last week’s Crestwood Board of Aldermen meeting, I found out that the rumor was true. City Administrator Petree Eastman announced to the room that this location was indeed closing at the end of the year. I spoke with her after, and she said that she had made numerous attempts to make headway in finding out what happened, but the landlord of the building will not return her calls.
She said that the broker who represents the landlord even had trouble getting the owner to call. They claim it was because the owner wanted a longer lease term than one year. Barnes and Noble claims otherwise.
Eastman continued in saying that it is sad for residents of the entire area. I completely agree. After getting a letter from a reader yesterday asking what was going on, I came here today looking for more information—after all, knowledge is power, right?
I sat down with a store manager named Beth and I got the feeling that with what little knowledge she had, she felt powerless. Her understanding was simply that the company and landlord could not come to agreement on a lease. She has been a manager here for two years and has never talked to the landlord. In fact, she didn’t even know if “he” was an individual person or a company.
Beth was notified at the end of September that the store would be closing and she then broke the news to the staff. Clearance sales started Oct. 23, with 50 percent off of items with a white dot. The store will return unsold items back to the publishers in January.
With 18 years overall under her belt with the company, Beth will be moving to the West County Barnes & Noble. Other booksellers who want to have placement hopefully will have it at another location. I asked Beth if she thought the advent of ereaders killed business. She verified that business had been good, in fact, the store had plans to expand their toys and games sections in the New Year. Before all of this, the store was proceeding along, business as usual.
Now as I sit in the café, business as usual is an employee moving a now empty shelf that was once filled with books. He swept the floor underneath and stood back. He says to a fellow employee, “Man, it looks so empty. It’s kind of sad.”