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Posted on Fri, Apr 15, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

Somber mood sets in as Borders store at Arborland plans to close Sunday

By Angela Smith

Like saying "goodbye" to an old friend, many area Ann Arbor residents will make their way to Arborland’s Borders bookstore as it prepares to close for good this weekend. 

Kara Inmon of Ypsilanti, a frequent Borders shopper visited the store this afternoon and described the mood as sad.

“This is where I get all of my Christmas gifts for everybody… I love it,” she said. Inmon was hoping to find a few more gifts at Borders' "Final Days Sale," particularly for her son’s 10th birthday. But she acknowledged that the children’s books selection is sparse.

The 23,000-square-foot Borders superstore at Arborland Center on Washtenaw Avenue will close its doors for the final time on Sunday afternoon. It's one of 226 superstores Borders is shuttering as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

By this afternoon, the store was mostly empty. All remaining merchandise has been moved and reorganized to the front quarter of the store.


The Borders store at Arborland Center will close for good Sunday.

Angela Smith | For

CD’s, DVD’s and children’s items had been picked clean, leaving very little to choose from. Veronica Conlin of Ann Arbor, who has visited the store about once a week during its liquidation sale, was still able to come up with an armload of treasures worth purchasing. 

“I think I counted 35 books that I have bought over the last months,” she said.

It's a far cry from the first few days after the liquidation sale started, when customers were waiting in lines for as long as two hours.

Conlin said that taking the time to look over the remaining items reveals a good selection, especially in the fiction and politics genres. 

Taebee Chang, a University of Michigan student, stopped in to find a few things before heading back home at the end of the school semester. She was happy to find a few good deals and still optimistic about Ann Arbor’s other Borders locations, particularly the flagship store downtown on Liberty Street. 

“I don’t think (the downtown) Borders will close. It was the first one. Students will still go there," she said.

But other shoppers were less positive. “It feels like a book garage sale,” said one shopper to another.

What shelves and fixtures were left were selling at bargain basement prices.

The store’s music section had been relocated to a small shelf near the check out.

The café area was completely dismantled. Fixtures and furniture were removed earlier in the liquidation process.

Shoppers were commiserating as they sifted through the items left for sale. Most items are priced at 80 percent to 90 percent off, including magazines and Paperchase items.

Most of the book selection was quite meager, with the exception of some titles that seemed to be in ample supply, like Tori Spelling’s children’s book, "Presenting Tallulah," and Sarah Palin’s "America by Heart."

Though the stock quantity was not first-rate, the liquidation prices were pleasing to most customers. 

“We’re offering four books for $10. No book in the store will cost you more than $2.50. We suggest very strongly that if you see something you like, you buy it today,” announced a liquidation staff member.

Some folks wandered toward the vacant back of the store, just to get a final glimpse of the store that occupied the prominent front corner of Arborland for more than a decade. Others wondered what might move in next.

Conlin is a bit cynical about the future of the prime Arborland location: “I think it will stay empty for a while, which is sad.”

Angela Smith is a freelance writer for


zip the cat

Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 12:20 p.m.

Somber mood! I wonder how somber the upper level big shooters feel asking for bonuses when there workers are loseing there jobs.


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 5:36 a.m.

"Most of the book selection was quite meager, with the exception of some titles that seemed to be in ample supply, like ... Sarah Palin's 'America by Heart'" Why, would that be the free market speaking?


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 3:02 a.m.

The slow death of that particular store was pathetic to watch and seems to have taken all year. I'll be glad to see the last "Closing! Clearance!" banner sign go and bum holding a liquidation sign at the corner of Washtenaw disappear.

Tom Joad

Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.

Physical books are rapidly becoming an anachronism. I read everything on my laptop and if I need to do further research on a word or concept I google it right there. Plus, and this is a big plus, the font can be increased in size to make for easier reading or I just highlight a chapter and let the computer voice read it for me aloud...Mac has some convincing voices.

Dante Marcos

Fri, Apr 15, 2011 : 11:53 p.m.

Borders? Nicola's.


Fri, Apr 15, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

Like the passing of the "Age of the Horse" to the "Age of the Automobile".


Fri, Apr 15, 2011 : 8:28 p.m.

Bring back Service Merchandise!!!


Fri, Apr 15, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

More like an old friend that has been living in a nursing home for years and everyone is just wondering when they are going to finally die. I should swing by and see the clerk that told me a couple of years ago that "they don't hav to match competitor's prices" That was the last time I was in there even though I usually try to support the local businesses.