After over 50 years, the Twin Cities' oldest remaining independent bookstore will close this month.
The Bookcase in Wayzata, which was founded in 1963, will close Oct. 18, owner Charlie Leonard said in a post Tuesday on the business' Facebook page.
“In theory, Wayzata should be a fabulous place to have an independent bookstore,” Leonard told the Star Tribune. “We’re blessed to have people who are very well-educated and literate, and not necessarily price-conscious."
But he said on Facebook financially they couldn't stay in business.
"Changing shopping habits and the physical reality of the redevelopment and road construction that have been ongoing in downtown Wayzata for several years now have caused a dramatic drop in sales. It was a drop that we hoped we could weather – as we have a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm for what the "new" Wayzata is going to look like in a few years. But, in the end, we can no longer afford to stay in business. It's that simple."
He took ownership of the small bookstore located the shores of Lake Minnetonka six years ago – he had worked there in college and would visit the bookstore as a child, like many in the city did – it has been a fixture in downtown Wayzata for generations.
"[The Bookcase is] a treasured enterprise in Wayzata for many, many years. It's really a very unfortunate loss for the city," Wayzata Mayor Ken Willcox told the Star Tribune.
The bookstore was known for its staff recommendations, hosting authors in the store for discussions and its loyal customers, many of whom expressed their disappointment that the bookstore was closing on Facebook and Twitter.
Leonard has always been frank about the store's financial struggles. In 2012, the store, moved from its quaint lake-view shop, which neighbored Caribou Coffee, a few blocks down. Leonard attributed this move to the "changing dynamics of the book world, as well as the changing face of retail in Wayzata."
But now, the Bookcase will close for good. Leonard wrote:
"The Bookcase's story, though, has come to an end. It's not a happy ending – to be certain – but we all know that happy endings can sometimes seem too contrived and unfulfilling. So perhaps it's a fitting ending, because maybe the moral of the story is meant to challenge us in such a way that we will be a little different – perhaps a little better – the next time around."
The Bookcase joins a long list bookstores – both independent and national chains – that have closed nationally in recent years due to ebooks and online retailers. Salon notes the number of independent bookstores peaked in the 1990s at about 4,000 nationwide, but now, even after a small resurgence in 2009, there are only about 2,000 indie bookstores left in the U.S.