North Fork’s only Borders holding ‘going out of business’ sale

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Riverhead Borders store on Route 58 is locally popular for its coffee shop.

North Fork bargain hunters take note, Borders Group Inc. has begun its going out of business sale.

The book chain sent out an e-mail to customers Friday announcing savings of up to 40 percent off merchandise. A flyer noted that all Borders Bucks will expire on July 31, though gift cards will be honored until all stores are closed, which is expected to be sometime this September.

The retailers announced Monday that it would be liquidating its inventory as it prepares to shutter all 399 of its store locations, including the one in Riverhead, and laying off some 10,000 employees nationally.

A preliminary deal that would have saved Borders Books fell apart last week, and the Borders company now plans to go out of business before the end of the year.

The company, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, announced on June 30 that a preliminary agreement had been reached with Direct Brands in which that company would acquire all of Borders’ assets for $215 million. That deal, which required approval from the bankruptcy court, would have kept Borders alive.

A Borders spokesperson told the News-Review at the time that the Riverhead store was “staying open for the foreseeable future” should the deal be approved by the court.

But the deal never got that far, and reportedly fell apart last week after objections were raised by some of the companies Borders owes money to.

On Monday, Borders instead announced that it would sell everything to a liquidation company, as it was unable to find a buyer that would keep them in business. The liquidation sales are expected to last until the end of September, according to a Borders’ press release.

“We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now,” said Borders Group president Mike Edwards.

Word of the store’s closing was greeted locally with sadness.

“It was one of the very few places one could go to find books at reasonable prices,” said Donna Montez of Riverhead. “I really enjoyed being able to sit down to read a book, to listen to music and relax. Borders will be dearly missed.”

Shopper Ray Petersen was at the Riverhead store Wednesday to spend an unused gift card he had been given about a year ago — before it was too late.

“Whenever I have a book I need, this is where I’ll go,” he said. “I guess I won’t be going here anymore. It’s a shame it’s closing.”
Borders currently has 399 stores and about 10,700 employees. It is the second-largest bookstore chain in the country, behind Barnes & Noble.

When asked if Barnes & Noble planned to take over any of the soon-to-be vacated Borders sites, Barnes & Noble spokesperson Mary Ellen Keating responded that the company “has no comment on the Borders news.”

When the Riverhead Centre shopping center where Borders is now located was first proposed in 1996, it was to include a Barnes & Noble store. But the project was delayed by lawsuits for several years and the version that was approved in 2002 had a Borders instead.

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