Sunday, February 20, 2011

Just a note about the Borders thing

What seems like a million years ago, but was probably closer to 12 years ago, I worked for Borders. In the beginning all was good. But then, there seemed to be changes on the corporate level that trickled down and affected us at the stores. And our lovely GM quit. And there was a general shake up on the managerial level. And this was the beginning.

We had a very lucrative program going on the weekends where at least one night - Friday or Saturday, we had local talent of some sort come in and perform. Sometimes it was music, othertimes spoken word. People would come in and listen and shop. Then go to the theater down the way. Or come in after the theater. Either way, our sales were up on the weekend. BUT, corporate felt this wasn't good. And wanted us to discontinue the program. And thus came the first firing of the community liason. Followed soon after by a drop in sales. And soon after that by the gm quitting because he didn't want to be a part of what was to come.

Then there was the chinese fire drill among the remaining managers and eventual hiring of a new gm. Followed soon after by another manager leaving. And you start to get the picture. Something was brewing. And this was 12 yrs ago.

Suddenly Borders stores started popping up all over the place. And not doing well. The locations at least near us, were poorly chosen. The rent I'm sure was decent, but the locations weren't busy enough to sustain. And yet, Borders left the stores open and I have no doubt lost money on many of them. I don't know how many Saturday nights I walked into one of these stores (after I left the company myself) and there would only be one or 2 customers in the cafe and maybe the same browsing elsewhere in the stores. Saturday night at the Barnes and Noble a few miles down the road was packed.

Those of us who worked at the chain could see that the changes were not all good and that the company was spreading itself too thin by building too fast. So, I think to some degree the problems they're having aren't totally unexpected, but are very disappointing.

I still enjoyed shopping Borders and visiting the few people I know that continued to work for the company. Now all 3 of the Borders closest to me are on the list of 200 that was published as to be closed. They assure us that the list is not written in stone and some may change status as rents are renegotiated, but I don't hold out much hope. Here is the link to the pdf that they published with the list of the 200 closing stores: And here is a link to the Galleycat article that contained the information

So, is this the end of Borders?