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Update: This story has changed. The store will not close.
Another Borders bookstore in Louisville is closing as the chain reorganizes its finances under Chapter 11.
Earlier, Borders planned to close two of the four Louisville stores—one on 4th Street Live and another on South Hurstborne. Now, the Shelbyville Road Plaza store is closing (via), leaving one remaining Borders in Louisville, on Bardstown Road.
As Borders goes through Chapter 11 and begins closing stores, various news outlets have encouraged anyone holding gift cards for the bookseller to spend their money now. Borders is honoring gift cards, but in the past, other companies have stopped accepting them as bankruptcy drags on.
Two of the four Borders stores in Louisville are closing. WFPL checked in with local independent bookseller Carmichael’s for a reaction to the news earlier this week. Manager Kelly Estep says the closures are a blow to book industry as a whole, and while sales at Carmichael’s have been steady, it’s not clear what effect Borders’s bankruptcy may have on smaller shops.
One possible effect, though, is an increase in Borders gift cards being redeemed at Carmichael’s. As Consuming Louisville reports, Carmichael’s has and will continue to accept gift cards from Borders and Barnes and Noble.
The percentage of American mortgage holders who are behind in their payments has dropped, and fewer foreclosures are in the pipeline. But Kentucky and Indiana remain slightly above the national average.
According to a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, foreclosures and delinquencies are on the decline nationwide, though both states trail the trend. Just over 9% of Kentucky home loans and 10% of Indiana loans have past-due payments. The national average is 8.93%.
A new survey of 27 hundred independent business shows some slightly good news for Louisville retailers.
Just over half of the 82 local independent businesses in the survey showed an increase in holiday sales, and more than that showed an increase in annual sales.
Safety measures for coal mines may cost money, but so does poor safety. Massey Energy (soon to be sold to Alpha Natural Resources) took a net loss of $166.6 million last year. The company made more than $100 million in profits last year, and had higher revenues last year.
The April explosion focused attention on the company’s record of safety violations and drew intense scrutiny from federal mine safety regulators. Massey has cited the increased oversight, an ongoing mine disaster investigation and resulting production declines as reasons for its losses. The company also blamed its lower productivity on difficulty in finding enough mine workers.
In the last quarter of 2010 alone, the company’s losses totaled $70.1 million.
Bridges Coalition (a nonprofit that supports the Ohio River Bridges Project) chairman David Nickilies is stepping down. The interim chair will be outgoing Maker’s Mark president Bill Samuels Jr.
Speculation that a Trader Joe’s grocery store was coming to Louisville picked up again last week. As always, the company would not confirm anything. That’s still the case, but the Insider Louisville has found a leak in the story.
Rosemary Nunn, manager of the Craftsman Collection furniture store in Shelbyville Road Plaza, said she and her staff were notified by Hagan Properties executives their expiring lease will not be renewed because Trader Joe’s is taking the space on the northeast side of the center.
Trader Joe’s also will displace Kiddie Castle and Massage Envy, which flank the Craftsman Collection store.
“We were told to be out by February 28,” Nunn told Insider Louisville. “But, (Hagan Properties) has given us an extension till mid-March.”
Here’s the deal.
According to Nunn, Trader Joe’s wanted the former Wild Oats location about 200 yards south, and deeper into the center, a space vacated after Whole Foods bought Wild Oats in 2007.
Trouble is, Whole Foods still owns that lease, and they’re stipulating Hagan Properties can’t lease to a competitor.
Trader Joe’s executives then tried to lease the vacant Circuit City space on the west side of Shelbyville Road Plaza, Nunn said.
But that deal fell through because the Circuit City space is too close to the existing World Market, which has an adjoining package-liquor sales with a separate entrance, an arrangement that complies with Kentucky’s arcane alcoholic beverage sales laws.
Trader Joe’s is huge into wines, with good California wines on the top end, and Charles Shaw “Two-Buck Chuck” brand on the bottom.
So, Trader Joe’s settled for its third choice on the northeast side – a huge coup for Hagan Properties, which has had its own problems, including the fact that the firm spent $7 million to reconfigure the center in early 2008, the same year mega-tenants such as Circuit City and Linen N’Things liquidated, leaving Shelbyville Road Plaza more than 50-percent vacant.
ThinkIndie–the digital music download service run by a coalition of independent record stores–is closing. ThinkIndie offered paid song and album downloads to stores across the country, including Louisville’s Ear X-tacy. The service will close on February 15th, leaving Ear X-tacy with no download service.
But the closure is unlikely to further harm the store. In the past, owner John Timmons has spoken candidly about Ear X-tacy’s financial insecurity, but general manager Rebecca Cornwell says the download service was not a source of profits for the store. Cornwell says for two years ThinkIndie clients poured money into the service without seeing a return, likely due to the ubiquity of larger download services like iTunes and Amazon MP3.
Cornwell says it’s unlikely Ear X-tacy will try to keep offering downloadable music after ThinkIndie closes. Rather, she says store management wants to focus on hosting concerts and offering other experiences customers can’t get elsewhere.
Here is the letter ThinkIndie sent to its customers:
The ThinkIndie team would like to thank you for your support and patronage of the site and independent music stores. Unfortunately, ThinkIndie will discontinue selling digital downloads as of February 15, 2011. Upon closure, we will delete all account and credit card information. Please use all outstanding credits before the closing date. All mp3s previously purchased from ThinkIndie will be unaffected by the closure.
There’s a lot of buzz right now about Trader Joe’s coming to Louisville. Business First says it’s coming. Derby City Cents says think again. Trader Joe’s is a mysterious company. So while visions of discount organic dried plums dance in your head, read this Fortune article, which is currently the definitive profile of the secretive Mr. Joe.
Only one city among those observed–Bakersfield, CA–has more factory jobs than it did ten years ago. Louisville has 37,000 fewer.