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Downtown bookstore to close this month

Downtown Buffalo's only seller of new books and periodicals will write its final chapter later this month.

Waldenbooks, located in the Main Place Mall, has announced it will shut its doors by the end of January after nearly four decades of business. The tentative closing date for the downtown store is Jan. 20.

The closing is part of a corporate strategy for long-term growth, said Holly Stein, a spokeswoman for Waldenbooks parent company, Borders Group Inc.

Borders Group, which includes Borders, Waldenbooks, Borders Express and Brentano bookstores, shuttered seven underperforming Waldenbooks stores in fall 2006 and has since confirmed plans to close another 80 units.

There are currently three Waldenbooks stores, including the Main Place Mall unit, operating in the Buffalo market. The Waldenbooks at McKinley Mall in Blasdell is also scheduled to close when a new, and much larger, Borders store opens at Quaker Crossing in Orchard Park this spring. The company has no plans to close its Walden Galleria Waldenbooks location.

Patrick Hotung, principal of Main Place-Liberty Group, which owns the mall, said there were efforts to retain the popular retailer.

"They have been on a year-to-year lease for some time now and we had offered to relocate them to a different space at our expense," Hotung said.

With the exit of Waldenbooks, Footlocker and Rainbow Kids will be the only national retail chains with a presence in the downtown mall other than food court tenants.
Hotung said it is likely the nearly 3,000-square-foot storefront will be leased to a telecommunications firm after the book store pulls up stakes.


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