Borders Books and Music on the Third Street Promenade, the latest bookstore casualty, has been forced to close its doors due the struggling economy. January 10 marks the day the literary hangout and coffee shop will say farewell to the diverse tourist spot in Santa Monica. Border’s efforts to compete with fellow bookstore chain, Barnes and Noble, has had its long run, but proved even though on the other edge of the strip, the Promenade is just not big enough for the both of them.
The three-level store stocked with nearly every genre of literature, music, and gifts is one of five Borders stores closing shop nation-wide, and according to company officials, stores in Tempe, Arizona, and Cincinnati are also being shut down.
Holiday decorations displayed in the front doors have been replaced with the all too-familiar red closeout sign, which announced the end for the store over the weekend. Borders still has stores on the Westside on Westwood Boulevard, in West L.A., and in Century City.
While Borders has been the most recent company to have to consolidate or move a store in areas of town that once thrived with booksellers, downtown faced a similar situation with closing or moving stores in the early 1990s, when the Promenade first gained momentum.
Some of the causes for these stores being forced to shut down include rising rents and falling sales. This has been an ongoing problem for years. Nearly five years ago, Midnight Special, one of the city’s largest independent bookstores, was run off the strip due to rising rents, and struggled so much on 2nd Street it was forced to shut down after only a year.
While Borders and Barnes and Noble are chains carrying everything from mainstream best sellers and just about any genre you could imagine, only two other stores, with a more specialized genre of books, still remain on the Promenade, Hennessey & Ingalls and Arcana. These two stores both carry mostly visual arts books.
Borders isn’t the only chain store shutting down on the Promenade. The Kira Plastanina fashion store next door announced last week that it would be closing.