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Bill Freehling is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and Fredericksburg.com. This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Bill Freehling.

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Borders files for bankruptcy; fate of local stores unclear

Borders Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning, but it’s thus far unclear what will happen to the book-seller’s two local stores. Borders plans to close about 200 of its 642 stores in the next several weeks as it tries to stay afloat in bankruptcy court. The company has stores in Fredericksburg’s Central Park and at Stafford Marketplace. A spokesman for Borders said all the stores that will be closing are superstores, which are defined as stand-alone stores of about 25,000 square feet. He said the company has about 488 superstores total, so just because a location is a superstore doesn’t mean it’s closing. Employees at the two Fredericksburg-area stores said they couldn’t comment on whether they were staying open, but said each location is a superstore.  

The Central Park store is in the same section of the shopping center as a 76,000-square-foot Shoppers Food Warehouse that recently closed. Verizon Wireless also closed its location in that strip and moved into the larger former home of Tweeter. Linens ‘n Things also closed its store in that strip, but that space has since been filled by Hobby Lobby.

Borders has obtained $505 million in debtor-in-possession financing from a group led by GE Capital as it seeks to turn around the business and avoid liquidation. The company has suffered from a heavy debt load and the trend toward electronic books, a business segment Borders entered late. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company says the stores that remain open will continue with business as usual during the restructuring period. Another bookseller, Joseph-Beth, filed for bankruptcy protection in November but continues to operate stores including the one at the Village at Spotsylvania Towne Centre.

Check back this afternoon for an update on the local stores.

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/businessbrowser/2011/02/16/borders-files-for-bankruptcy-fate-of-local-stores-unclear/

  • http://odonnellweb.com COD

    This appears to be the list of stores that are closing. I don’t see Fredericksburg on the list.

    http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/Borders_Closures.pdf

  • Kevin

    Stafford Marketplace is on it though

  • Bill Freehling

    Good eyes, COD. Thanks.

  • Heather

    Well if they could lower the book prices maybe more people would buy from them!

  • Laur

    I agree with Heather: I would be more likely to buy a book if I could get it at a price comparable to Amazon at the very least. These bookstores are all destined to fail if they don’t take the prices of their greatest competition into consideration.

  • http://odonnellweb.com COD

    There is no reason to ever pay list price at Borders. I get at least one coupon a week from them via email, usually for 40% off, or better.

  • Lloyd

    COD is correct. I have been shopping at the Central Park Borders since it opened. I have never once paid list price. The rewards program is free and you do get weekly coupons via e-mail. Many of the coupons are also good on the website. Shipping is free over a certain amount (I think $25, like Amazon), but you can get a book sent to the local store for pickup at no charge. Amazon is great if you know what you want, but nothing beats browsing for that one book you might otherwise never see. No physical store can compete with Amazon on pure pricing. It is unfair to expect them to.

  • Kevin

    I don’t think Borders is a “serious rip off.” Books and book buying are an experience. I am willing to pay “list price” for that experience. Simply because Borders can’t match Amazon’s price and obvious selection doesn’t spell rip off. Borders and other book stores offer an experience that Amazon can’t provide from behind a keyboard and PC or other electronic devices. The enjoyment I get browsing the history section looking for a book is most enjoyable and in fact something I love to do. I am grateful the Fredericksburg location will remain open. Great news Central Park is staying open. Thomas Jefferson once said “I can’t live without books.” I can’t agree more. Long live books. Real honest to goodness books. A book I can hold, a book I can smell the pages, a book’s spine that cracks, the artwork on a dust jacket and the good ol’ book marker!

  • Kevin

    In my excitement I kind of made some errors on my post above. Sorry. However I am excited. As close to Christmas as I have ever come for the middle of February! COD and Lloyd….Couldn’t agree more. Book stores are for book people. Not those looking to get a rock bottom price on the next Twilight book or John Patterson release!

  • kerryloaks

    popular websites like printapons and retail me not has coupons for pretty much any shopping site I’ve gone to most of the coupons are valid drops down with coupons without me having to search for them

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