Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Literacy City

A friend was in Borders in Dickson City the other morning-- after the chain declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but before a list of stores to be closed was released.  Borders is closing 200 of its 650 stores because the red ink is flowing.

My friend asked a store employee if the Dickson City store was on the list.  She was told no, and the Dickson City store is among the best in the entire chain-- in top top five per cent of sales.

I'm not doubting that, but it should be examined for a moment.  After all, at least to me, it is surprising.

Competition?  There are no other book stores inside or outside the Viewmont Mall, although Target, Wegmans, and Walmart are close by, and all have healthy book departments.

We have a high "mature American" population here.  They buy books at brick and mortar stores.

There are several colleges and universities within a short distance of Dickson City.  Students read.

Borders has a cafe.  I've never been to that corner of the store, but I've been told it's good.

You also have to factor in the cost of the lease, the labor, and the utilities.  The numbers have to work for the chain.

I have to admit that I'm a bit surprised that all local Borders stores were spared the Chapter 11 axe.  We keep hearing how this is a depressed area, both educationally and economically.  This could show the doom sayers are wrong.