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It's old news to just about everyone here about the difficulties of the bookstore business, which has been the subject of the odd SNLC over the years.  This SNLC takes up that theme again, with the recent news that The Book House, in the municipality of Rock Hill, needs to leave its current digs by the end of July.  The store is currently located in a 150+ yo building that's one of the oldest in Rock Hill, which looks as though it'll get razed to make way for a storage facility.  There's a certain meta-irony in that, of course.  More below the flip....

Coverage on this story has come from two blog articles this week by Sam Levin at the Riverfront Times, and in between those, an article by Steve Giegerich of the Post-Dispatch:

(a) 4/29/13, Sam Levin, RFT
(b) 5/1/13, Steve Giegerich, P-D by Steve Giegerich:
(c) 5/3/13, Sam Levin, RFT

Giegerich's article summarizes the situation:

"If all goes according to plan, the Book House, two other businesses and a handful of houses tucked into 1.45 acres behind a Manchester Road title company will disappear, razed to make way for a storage facility."
Right before that summary, the owner of the store, Michelle Barron, was quoted, where Giegerich noted her choice of grammar:
"'This was a haven, a magical place,' said Barron, already referring to the shop in the past tense."
The meta-irony noted before the flip in this situation is that inventory turnover at used bookstores tends to be pretty slow, so that in their way, used bookstores are already "storage facilities".  It's just that an actual storage facility can charge people for the privilege of keeping stuff there, while a bookstore has the opposite problem of wanting to unload/sell its inventory, with the corresponding burden of paying taxes on unsold inventory after the end of each year.

Barron has apparently tried to buy the building in the past, per Levin's Monday blog post:

"The Book House....has been in business with a lease at that house for over 30 years and does not own the property. They have made efforts in recent years to try and buy the property, but have not had any luck.....

Relocating seems almost impossible says Barron, who is 48 and lives in Webster Groves.

"It would cost a fortune. We'd have to get a loan.... And anything we could get would cost three times as much," she says. "We're just now breaking even and getting back on track from the recession."

One of the commenters, Linda Austin, wrote in a 'breaking news' post later on the day that the article went on line:
"The Book House just got its eviction notice. Out by July. Rock Hill has to rezone that land for industrial and approve their own designated historic structure to be bulldozed."
Austin wrote in a later post, regarding Barron:
"She can't afford to relocate. The logistics of moving 200,000 books and finding another affordable place anywhere near that area make it impossible. The developer is not actually going to help, as we can see he hasn't offered to move the house or her books. Just get out."
This posting by Austin contradicts the spokesman for EZ Storage, Bill Bowman, in the article:
"Bowman....pledges to help Barron find a new home for the 200,000 books crammed floor to ceiling and into every conceivable cranny of the 1863 Victorian Gothic house.

'We don't want her on the street,' he said. 'We want to work with her.'

Bowman said Great Northern Developments is considering several options, including preserving the character of the quirky bookstore by physically moving the 150-year-old home to another location.

'It's great, I love the place,' he said. 'I love the idea of sitting in a house and reading. But sometimes you can move an old house and sometimes you can’t.'

It's easy to be cynical about statements from an out-of-town corporation about trying to be nice to the locals when the big, bad corporate types swoop in and gobble up real estate.  Here, the cynicism seems rather justified, although it's the local landlord, Rex Stahl, who's pulling the plug on Barron and the current location of her business.  Going back to the possibility of Barron buying the premises, in a "he said, she said" situation, the lawyer for Rex Stahl, David Waltrip, and Barron tell their sides of the story about Barron trying to buy the place earlier:
"Waltrip also says that Barron had an opportunity to purchase the house - but backed out.

'We thought she was going to buy the building, and we were going to have to carve out that portion,' Waltrip says, 'but she was the one that withdrew.'

Barron, however, says that she did everything in her power to try and purchase the house, but that the landlord only made offers that would be financially impossible.

'I tried for three years to buy this property,' she says. 'I could not get a bank loan to save my life.... I tried and I tried and I tried.'

She adds, 'It was obvious I wanted to keep the building, but they would not give me any way to do it.'"

Given that the RFT leans left, even in its corporate New Times-owned incarnation, the blog writer's sympathies and shading of the article are pretty obvious.  The current RFT blog post from Monday mentions 2006 article on The Book House, which draws parallels between Barron and Rock Hill itself:
"In some ways Michelle Barron is an apt metaphor for struggling Rock Hill. Sharing borders with its more prosperous neighbors — Webster Groves, Ladue, Brentwood and Glendale — the one-square-mile city of 4,700 people has been running on empty for a decade. Government is administered from a mini-strip mall, a rented city hall pressed between Missouri Payday Loan and Rock Hill Chop Suey. The city's municipal building, now boarded up, was sold for $3.6 million last August to Novus Development Co.....

Nearly $3 million in debt, Rock Hill is without a fire chief or police chief. There's no money to build a permanent city hall, and roadwork projects are on hold. Empty city positions cannot be filled."

There's also this interesting bit:
"The city had a chance about five years ago to bring in a Wal-Mart and Sam's Club, but a public outcry prevented it and the retail center ended up on Hanley Road in Maplewood, which was then facing bankruptcy. That development deal, which like the Market at McKnight was partially funded through tax-increment financing (TIF), has added $2.5 million to Maplewood's bottom line."
I loathe Wal-Mart as much as any self-respecting DK'er, but with the benefit of hindsight, one now has to wonder.  Also, there's this bit from that article, quoting Rex Stahl:
'"I'm not going to tear it down," Stahl says, standing outside his foreign-car repair shop, located just behind the Book House. "I just wish the city had some money. They could use it as a library."'
No, Stahl won't tear it down.  Someone else will, the firm he sells it out to, which will amount to the same thing, of course.

Self will admit that I'm not exactly helpful regarding the plight of The Book House, as I think I've only been there once or twice ever over the years, and I can't remember if I've ever bought a book there.  I probably haven't.  I love used bookstores, but I also have too many unread books in my place, as I constantly state in posts under cfk's Bookflurries diaries.  So it wouldn't really be smart for me to add more to that backlog.  However, I suppose that here, I might have to make an exception to that idea.  It would be good if a bunch of local folk could do the same thing, i.e. buy books to help reduce her inventory and ease the burden of trying to move to a new location.  We'll see if that happens, on my side and other people's.

So with that, time for the usual SNLC protocol, namely your loser stories of the week.  But to add to the loserness here....

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yup, this is yet another autobot... (10+ / 0-)

    .....posting, so I'm not currently around to reply to and mojo comments, which will have to wait.  If any of the regulars, or anyone else, stops by and wants to blog-sit until I get back.

    So, from here:  lost 6 on-line Scrabble games in a row, and about to lose another 2, after winning something like 6 in a row.  Makes you appreciate how nice winning at something is, however trivial.  The flip side, of course, is how much it sucks to lose at something, however trivial.

    "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

    by chingchongchinaman on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:27:58 PM PDT

  •  kids will be home in 45 min (8+ / 0-)

    daughter will go straight to bed, son & i will watch doctor who.

    meanwhile i am designing a quilt.  busy day, then a late-afternoon nap.  

    you know, whem i'm not here, it's when my life is too sucky for regular loser-ness.  but this week was very average without abnormal suckiness.  

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:45:30 PM PDT

    •  I am glad it was average and not worse (8+ / 0-)

      and I hope you have had some spring weather to enjoy.

      One grandbaby who is two has been talking for an hour, now, and keeping the oldest one awake...sigh.

      The baby just gave up a bit ago.  

      Big day, tomorrow...a grandbaby is having a birthday party and the weather looks really good for the back yard.

      Best wishes to all here.

      I am crashing and burning very soon.

      Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

      by cfk on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:13:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  remember that you spoke of 2..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jlms qkw, cfk

        .....grandkid b-days in close succession last week.

        BTW, have made a bit more progress through The Iliad.  I guess that I have to qualify my description of the translation as not too overly "literary", since by definition, any sort of prose rendering in verse form has to be stylized to some degree, which implies some level of artificiality and perhaps "artiness".

        "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

        by chingchongchinaman on Sun May 05, 2013 at 04:08:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Which reminds me to see if I (4+ / 0-)

      recorded Orphan Black.  I've been enjoying that.

    •  understood; other priorities in life exist..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlms qkw

      ......besides blogging :) .  Especially, in my case, a series like this that is pretty much of no consequence whatsoever (but the same could be said of the great majority of blogs, it seems).

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sun May 05, 2013 at 04:07:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is heartbreaking. Any news of a decades old (6+ / 0-)

    bookstore is tragic. I just recently wrote about the ones i've lost in my life. Some young or middle aged adult is very sad now because the bookstore they have grown up going to will disappear soon, and they will be forced to find anther or do without in this age of ebooks. sigh, so depressing. online scrabble, huh? do you have sign up for that? sounds interesting.

    Too many in this country feel the Constitution should include the 2nd Amendment. And nothing else.

    by blueoregon on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:56:03 PM PDT

    •  I wonder sometimes just how all these..... (0+ / 0-)

      ......books get produced over the years.  I guess also that a good number of them get pulped, but that still leaves all these books in all these used bookstores, or what used to be used bookstores, not to mention private citizens' shelves, libraries and such.

      BTW, the on-line Scrabble is on FB.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sun May 05, 2013 at 04:10:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's a shame. (4+ / 0-)

    A beautiful old house vs. eyesore. Developers should be outlawed.

    I will be trying to sell some books this week, some of which I bought at the used bookstore two weeks ago and have already devoured. When I'm less broke (i.e. next paycheck) I'll try to buy some more from there. It's one of two used bookstores I know of downtown, and by far the better.

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:54:46 PM PDT

    •  don't know about outlawing developers, as.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Youffraita

      ......otherwise, things would sprawl randomly.  That aside, on the lighter side, I drove by the downtown central library branch, the principal location of the STL Public Library.  It was nice to see cars parked there after all the time spent re-developing that location.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sun May 05, 2013 at 04:15:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's the requiem for an institution (4+ / 0-)

    which closed here:

    Wahrenbrock's

    •  just found this article from the Philly..... (0+ / 0-)

      ......Inquirer, here, when your post put me in mind of the closing of Robin's Books in Philly last winter.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sun May 05, 2013 at 04:18:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dumbo... (4+ / 0-)

    who is drinking Glenlivet 12.  It's a Speyside single malt scotch, and I think I like the Speyside scotches more than the Islays, after my bad experience with Finlaggans.  But it seems a bit boring compared to that other bargain scotch, Maccallan's 10, which I think I should buy another bottle of.

    •  Don't you wish we could try (4+ / 0-)

      McCallan 30?

      PS. KUSC is streaming music from a different galaxy.

      •  I found a nice upscale liquor store that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Youffraita, chingchongchinaman

        had all those, including the 800 dollar Macallans and other brands.

        Just now looked up Macallan 25 year old.  $699 a bottle at bevmo.

        http://www.bevmo.com/...

        Quite a step up from Macallan 10.  They list Macallan 10 for $37, but I got it for about 32 at Trader Joe's and I suspect I can get it cheaper if I shop.  

        Macallan 10 $37
        Macallan 12 $44
        Macallan 15 fine oak $90
        Macallan 17 fine oak $127
        Macallan 18 $175
        Macallan 25 $699

        This is one of those pearls before swines things, where I'm the swine and the scotch is the pearls.  I SO miss the Macallan's 10 that I had that I think I should go back to it.  In fact I think maybe I'm grieving over its loss (to my belly).  I'm not quite sure I would like an older Macallan's more.  It really grew on me.  Remember how I posted it disappointed me because it wasn't smoky enough?  Well, once I got past my expectations, it was great.  It had a complex flavor, sweet and pleasant, sort of like pears, and it was so smooth that it didn't even seem like whiskey.  I could still smell it the next day and I hadn't really drunk a lot of it.

        The Glenlivet 12 is sort of like the Macallan 10 but without the subtlety.  I can tell it's in the same family, but it doesn't blow me away.

  •  Hey, everyone! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chingchongchinaman

    Courtesy of Netflix, I just watched a delightful French movie called Romantics Anonymous. Yes, it's a romantic comedy, but SO much better than most of what Hollywood does.

    For one thing, both love interests are almost paralyzed by anxiety. She's a world-class chocolatier and he owns a chocolate factory that's about to go bankrupt but hires her as a sales rep. That gets sorted out by the end.

    It's the anxiety stuff that makes the film.

    Check it out if you have Netflix:

    http://movies.netflix.com/...

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:44:11 AM PDT

    •  hmm, never heard of this one (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Youffraita

      I just found it on IMDB, and then realized why I hadn't heard of it.  There's no one in the cast with any recognition outside of France, even in the supporting roles.  But will have to keep it in mind.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sun May 05, 2013 at 04:12:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought the performances were great (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chingchongchinaman

        and didn't care that I never heard of the actors before.

        I guess it's really a confection of a film, but it's well-done and solid, and funny too.

        Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

        by Youffraita on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:33:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the issue behind the actors thing is that..... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Youffraita

          ......with at least one recognizable name and face, it could get distribution to the US art house circuit.  Because of that lack of names on this one, no chance of distribution to the art house cinemas for a national run.  It's no comments on its intrinsic merits, of course.

          "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

          by chingchongchinaman on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:23:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Gotcha. Thing is, (0+ / 0-)

            I live so far away from the art house circuit, it might as well not exist.

            Netflix IS my art house circuit.

            I read about a lot of movies I'd love to see...playing in NYC and LA. They never come here.

            Damn. I miss NY.

            Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

            by Youffraita on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:18:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  fair point; makes sense about NetFlix (0+ / 0-)

              Have never done NF myself, but then I barely make time to watch any TV any more.  Haven't been to the movies in a while either.

              "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

              by chingchongchinaman on Wed May 08, 2013 at 08:54:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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