Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The War of Attrition

Ferndale shop closes book on 32-year run - 8-10-05.jpgCharles Hughes poses outside Paperbacks Unlimited in Ferndale, MI, Friday, August 5, 2005. After owning the business for 32 years, Charles Hughes has sold Paperbacks Unlimited to a Ferndale real estate developer. He says he can't keep with the Costco, Walmart and Meijer on bestsellers, and can't sell the the back stock, the noncurrent bestsellers that used to be the staple of independent bookstores. (Special to the Detroit News)

This Detroit News story, "Ferndale shop closes book on 32-year run: Squeezed by bigger stores, fewer customers, owner of Paperbacks Unlimited sells building," discusses the closing of a great old bookstore on Woodward Avenue in Ferndale.

Although I will say a problem with focusing on paperbacks and periodicals is that the average sale is small. Therefore, so is the margin. Relatedly, used book stores like the recently closed Riverdale Books need to add new books and other products to the mix. For more on Riverdale Books, see "In Next Chapter, a Hope of Renewal: After Losing Bookshop, Md. Town Awaits Developer's Move."

PH2005073001307.jpgPhotographer: Lois Raimondo, The Washington Post. Upendra Jejjala, second from left in red, Simon Bragg, center in blue, and Jack Jones, pack up books and tear down bookshelves at the Riverdale Bookshop & Coffee Depot which began in 1956 and has been ordered to close by midnight Sunday.

PH2005080901635.jpgPhotographer: Marie Poirier Marzi-For The Washington Post. Rosemary Reed, owner of Toast & Strawberries, a clothing boutique in Dupont Circle, holds up an unusual wedding gown.

This Washington Post story, "Fixture of Dupont Retail to Close: Rising Rent Causing Owner to Shut Store Opened in 1966," is about the possible closure of the women's boutique Toast and Strawberries. (Remember how Newsroom was pushed out to be vacant for about three years, and now home to Commerce Bank? Or Schwartz Drugs, a couple doors down from Toast and Strawberries, now a Starbucks?)

As Jon Schallert commented in the thread on Georgetown Texas and the new mall vs. the traditional downtown, they have scheduled three days of "Destination Marketing" training. (See Jon's website for more information.)

I am not a big fan of the saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," but in this case it's true. You have to respond ahead of time, not afterwards. Otherwise you are behind the eight ball.

I loved Paperbacks Unlimited back when I was in high school.


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