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Tri-State residents seek bargains after Borders announces closing

Spokeswoman could not give exact date when Hagerstown location would close

July 19, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • A customer leaves the Borders store at the Centre of Hagerstown shopping plaza in Hagerstown Tuesday morning.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Tri-State area book lovers were looking for bargains at the Borders bookstore in the Centre at Hagerstown on Tuesday, a day after the international book and music retailer announced it was seeking court approval to liquidate its remaining inventory and close its stores.

Michelle Bageant, 21, of Warfordsburg, Pa., said she heard Monday night that Borders was going out of business.

"I was shocked because Borders is a huge name," Bageant said Tuesday morning outside the Borders along Garland Groh Boulevard. "Borders and Barnes & Noble — those are the two top dogs."

Bageant said she browsed the bargain section of the store and bought 14 books, some at a huge discount.

"I'm shopping for birthdays, Christmas and random gifts," she said. "I figured they'd be offering some bargains."

Mary Davis, a spokeswoman for Borders, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., said she didn't know the exact date that the Hagerstown store would close, but said "all the stores will close by the end of September."

Davis said she wasn't sure how many local Borders employees would lose their jobs. A typical bookstore in the chain employs 20 to 40 people, she said.

Williamsport resident Terri Gwizdala, 47, was at the Hagerstown Borders on Tuesday with her 10-year-old son, Alex.

She said she frequently shops at Borders to buy children's books for the preschool class that she teaches in Hagerstown.

"I'm kind of upset," Gwizdala said. "We love coming in. If there's something in here I really want I just come in and pick it up."

Christa Wells, 63, of Martinsburg, W.Va., said news of the closing couldn't have come at a more inopportune time because she just joined a Borders book club.

She said she shops at the store in Hagerstown about two times a month to buy reasonably priced books.

"They have real good deals," Wells said. "They have books you can't find anywhere else .... I wish they'd keep it. It's going to hurt a lot of people."

The Borders in Hagerstown remained open earlier this year when about 200 of the chain's 642 stores were closed.

Borders, which helped pioneer the big-box bookseller concept, was slow to adapt to the changing industry and lost book, music and video sales to the Internet and other competition, the Associated Press reported.

The company had filed a petition for reorganizational relief under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code, which commenced in February.

After it failed to receive any bids that would keep it in business, Borders is seeking court approval to appoint liquidation firms to conduct going-out-of business sales. They will not buy any assets of Borders.

Liquidation sales could start as soon as Friday if the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York approves the move at a scheduled hearing on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

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