Monday, December 15, 2008

Borders on Mill Ave closing down

Verified by a worker in Borders, they are closing up on January 31st.

After they have left us, we will have no more bookstores on Mill Ave that cater to contemporary works! So, we really need someone to take up the slack—even a small mom and pop outfit would be welcome. Please.

May not be able to take up the location that Borders is vacating, but something would be welcome.

The closing comes on the heels of about four shops opening on Mill in recent months, as the area attempts to recover from more than a year of economic woes. Several Mill Avenue merchants have said Tempe's downtown is struggling because of the economy and competition from Tempe Marketplace, near Rio Salado Parkway and McClintock Drive.

Vic Linoff use to own Those Were the Days book and antique store on Mill Avenue, which closed earlier this year. He's now leasing out the space in the building he owns.

"We have a lot of difficulty leasing our space, but that is not surprising given there are more stores closing than opening," he said.

There is some commentary that everyone is blaming the Tempe Marketplace; and in fact this is true. In some ways it is to "blame." Because it is pulling away a lot of the retail power that Mill Ave has.

However, this is like blaming an invasive species of animal for trashing an ecosystem because it's better adapted than the other animals. It's just doing what it tends to do. The Tempe Marketplace is a giant mall that is pulling away the economy from Mill because Mill was built too much around the type of retail stores that work extremely well in the Marketplace.

Mill simply needs to respond by diversifing into niches that large retail stores do not cover. Especially those niches that malls are extremely bad for: kiosks, bazaars, eclectic stores, and book stores that cater to the cultural Bohemian.

Link, via AZ Central.


Josh @ Tempe Bars said...

I love that Borders! It's such a bummer to have that closing. I do agree with you also that Tempe market place is ruining the retail heart and soul of Mill ave. The real question: What will take the place of borders?

Nice blog,


Kyt Dotson said...

I wish I knew.

I hope that it's not another huge corporate storefront. If Borders faltered and fell, and it's a well-funded chain, then another one of a similar type will probably not survive.

I would like to see that building broken up perhaps into smaller vendors.

Or -- as I think I've said too many times -- it would be wonderful to turn it into an enclosed bazaar.

What will happen, however, I feel is that it's going to be vacant for a while and eventually succumb to another giant capable of leasing the entire space.

Please let it be an arcade or something more community oriented.