Friday, November 04, 2016
Sometimes a store is more than a store. It is a symbol of the health of a community and a point of pride. So when the store closes, it sparks anger and disbelief. That is what is happening with a book store in the Bronx. It is the last general interest book purveyor in the borough and residents are taking its loss hard. Never mind that its departure is the result of a rent increase. The business decision to close stings residents who are underserved by government and commerce. The same has happened in thousands of communities around the nation when Walmart opened its giant stores on the outskirts of small towns and bled local merchants to death. There is still a deep bitterness against the company as a result. When a store becomes a symbol, management should treat it differently. That doesn't mean it should be carried when loss ridden but it shouldn't be closed immediately, as this Barnes & Noble wasn't. It took two rent increases to drive the book dealer out. The landlord is determined to get a better yield on his property and he has already lined up a clothing chain to take it over. If anyone, residents should be outraged with the landlord, but it is easier for them to focus their ire on management. The result is an undeserved PR debacle for the book chain.