Borders store locations closing in bankruptcy move
Bowie, Largo locations to shut down after all merchandise is sold
Starting Saturday, Borders book stores in Bowie and Largo began offering discounts on books and music following the chain's announcement last week that it is closing 200 stores as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
"They'll be open until they sell out, and we anticipate closing no later than the end of April," company spokeswoman Mary Davis said on Monday.
The Largo and Bowie stores are among 200 of Borders' 642 stores that the Michigan-based chain plans to close as part of a bankruptcy reorganization announced Feb. 16.
The restructuring is designed to enable the company to become more competitive in an economy where many retailers sell products online, according to a statement posted at www.bordersreorganization.com.
Davis said Borders stores slated for closing will be honoring gift cards and rewards programs but not coupons.
The store in the Boulevard at Capital Centre in Largo employs 35 people and the store at the Gateway Center in Bowie employs 24 people, mostly part-time workers, Davis said.
"We're looking at various scenarios for employees but we're not commenting beyond that," she said about employees possibly transferring to other stores.
Davis said that once the stores close the leases will no longer be in effect, freeing property owners to re-lease the space.
A spokeswoman for Chicago-based Inland Western Retail Real Estate Trust Inc., the owner and operator of the Largo center, declined to comment about the pending loss of Borders on Monday.
The Borders space in the Gateway Center in Bowie is owned by a private group of investors, City Manager David Deutsch said in a report to the city council.
"Each store space in the Bowie Gateway complex (from Target to Pier One) is a separately owned space (much like a condominium project would be individually owned)," wrote Deutsch, who predicted it may take several years to refill the Borders space.
Meanwhile, several regular customers said they will miss the Borders stores because of their atmosphere, convenience and selection.
"I like reading about computers, robots and how to make stuff," said David Land, who stopped by the Largo store after work last Thursday to pick up some how-to books.
"I like the ambience," added Land, who said he appreciated the store's mix of books, music, gifts and coffee.
He acknowledged the benefits of the online revolution but said he is one person who still prefers shopping in a store and physically handling books.
"I guess I'm old-fashioned and stuck in my ways," Land said.
Mildred Mason of Capitol Heights said she also usually shops at the Borders store at Capital Center but came to Bowie last week in search of a book the Largo store didn't have.
"I like going in and browsing," said Mason, who also enjoys having a cup of coffee and relaxing in a Borders store when she gets a break from family responsibilities.
"The atmosphere is nice, and you couldn't ask for better service," said Mason, who also likes looking through the gifts and cards.
"I'll still go [to Capital Centre], but I'll miss that store," she said.