Borders bookstore has hit hard times. On Wednesday it was announced the company was filing for bankruptcy, and in turn will close its Lawrence store at 700 New Hampshire Street.
Despite my growing distain for corporations, Borders has held a special place in my heart for a couple of sentimental reasons.
March 21, 2003: It was a Friday night and I and my lady friend were out on a date. We stopped for some coffee (I’m sure she had cocoa) at whatever shop was at 745 New Hampshire (it’s now Mirth of this writing) and stopped to see the show on our way to Borders to peruse the stacks.
The show? Oh, did I not mention? Some girl had planted herself atop a lone tree in the lot south of Borders and was protesting its imminent chainsaw dismemberment. The tree was the last thing to be removed before construction of the Hobbs Taylor Lofts could begin, but this is Lawrence, and we do things differently around here, so of course there was a protest. (Related video)
I love Lawrence.
We left Borders … yadda, yadda, yadda … a few hours later we were engaged.
2003 to present: Borders was the place I went to get books to learn about web design and development. I tried the library, but the books were out of date and terrible, so I invested a little cash and taught myself enough to leave journalism and begin working on the web instead of print. When asked how I learned web design, I would tell people I “graduated from Borders University,” my supposed witty way of saying I got my educational materials through the local bookstore.
Lawrence’s workers are really taking it on the chin. Most recently it was Knology’s “rightsizing,” then the shutting down of Jefferson’s Restaurant, and now, Borders. That’s a good chunk of jobs being lost in the last three months alone. I feel deeply – to my core – for the employees of those businesses. And there have been others that have closed, too.
I’m thankful for the memories something as seemingly inconsequential as a chain bookstore has been to me. I’ve enjoyed going there, my daughters have enjoyed picking out books and Christmas shopping there, and now it seems the final pages are being written for Borders, at least locally.
My heart aches.