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Posted on Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

Borders' liquidation plan approved: Sales start Friday at flagship store in downtown Ann Arbor, Pittsfield store

By Nathan Bomey


A display in the lobby of Borders Group Inc.'s corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor greets nearly 400 workers who will be laid off when the company liquidates.

Melanie Maxwell |

A judge today officially approved Ann Arbor-based Borders Group Inc.'s plans to liquidate, setting the stage for going-out-of-business sales to start Friday.

Sales will start Friday at all of the company's 399 remaining stores, including the flagship store on Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor and the superstore on Lohr Road in Pittsfield Township.

Borders plans to close its all of its stores — although, in a last-minute deal, the company tentatively plans to sell up to 35 leases to Alabama-based Books-A-Million. The local stores aren't believed to be on that list.

A team of liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources LLC and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC will handle the liquidation sales.

“This marks the end of an era and we thank our customers for their patronage over our 40-year history," Borders Group President Mike Edwards said in a statement. "I encourage our customers to take advantage of this one-time opportunity to find exceptional discounts on their favorite books and other great merchandise. The commitment to our customers will remain a top priority throughout the going-out-of-business sale.”

Books-A-Million confirmed its offer to buy 30 leases — while reports indicate that the company wants the option to acquire another five.

"We feel that it is a great benefit as it would both preserve jobs and create the opportunity for our customers to continue enjoying access to books as well as the bookstore experience," Borders said in a statement.

Borders is liquidating 259 superstores, 114 Borders Express and Waldenbooks stores and 26 airport stores. The liquidators estimated that the stores contained $700 million in inventory.

It was unclear how long the sales would last, but a liquidation spokesperson said in a news release that "we expect this will be a short sale."

Sales will start as high as 40 percent off, although discounts will vary. The liquidators also plan to sell off Borders' furniture, lighting and shelving, among other fixtures.

"We anticipate that today’s value-conscious consumer will respond very positively to these outstanding savings," the companies said.

Customers can use gift cards until the sales conclude. All purchases made starting July 22 will be final — and the company will only honor "Borders Bucks," a form of credit distributed to loyal customers, through July 31.

Borders on Monday announced plans to liquidate after a deal to sell the company to a Phoenix-based private equity firm collapsed. The liquidation, which is expected to be complete by September, marks the end of the bookstore chain, which was founded in Ann Arbor by Tom and Louis Borders in 1971.

The company's 10,700 employees, including 400 workers left at the company's Ann Arbor headquarters, will lose their jobs.

Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February with hopes of reorganizing, but it continued to lose millions.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

The dirty little secret is this, Walden Books was founded in the 1930's and was stripped to build the Borders empire. The last decade of Borders has been wrought with corporate officers coming in trying to right the ship that was based on wrong decisions for a big box store identity while trying to maintain investors profits. Borders, was always too big, too fast for its own britches. While many staff in the trenches could see that a return to the Waldon roots was necessary corporate moguls like the last three executive president fools that were appointed led the king down the road without a stitch of clothing on. It is a sad day for those that recognized the demise well before the investors drove it into the ground by greed. Walden Books will be missed Borders, good riddens.

David Spence

Sun, Jul 24, 2011 : 12:25 a.m.

Actually, the mall stores felt the pinch before the super stores. Barnes and Noble closed all the Dalton Book Stores some time ago.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

They could out source Waldenbooks if there was a buyer for it. This was the first of Borders in the malls. I remember this one. Although the prices were too much for us as well. Even though we had lousy service with Waldenbooks, we found that in Rochester Hills, when I went in to get a book and got great service. Weird.

Ron Granger

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 1:14 p.m.

Wow, the website says Up To 40% off. Borders may finally be matching Amazon's prices!


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 9:09 a.m.

I wanted to send this as a note to Mr. Edwards but it was blocked by the Borders server... Maybe it will make it too him, but I'm very sad with this move - Mr. Edwards, When first I heard the news, I was really surprised yet at the same time, I can't ignore the on-going game to truly dumb-down Americans or break them away from the true sources of information like a book store. Electronic 'stuff' is nice, but nothing compares to the actual holding of a book in ones hands, and reading the pages and then placing it back on the shelf of our home library. This is a pretty distressing reality, and sadder yet, far too many people just don't make the connection. Maurece


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 1:25 p.m.

I could not agree more with this. Even our child has said what is so big about those electronic books? More and more children today are feeling metal and sound compared to the sound of a book with paper pages and that exasperation when you drop the book and go, "o nuts" as you have to go searching for that last page read. Good luck to the employees who have now lost their job and have to find another one. We do not like Barnes and Noble and find their staff is not all that friendly compared to Borders. I guess we will not go Amazon to avoid Barnes. Otherwise, there are second hand bookstores still available. Maybe there. End of another era.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 5:17 a.m.

The time has come to lock the doors for the last time.


Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

Dibs on the espresso machine


Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 11:32 p.m.

It's very sad to see the end of Borders stores. I always enjoyed shopping/browsing there. I tried shopping at Barnes and Noble and it's not the same thing. B&N has never seemed very customer friendly (to me) and their displays aren't that appealing. I have a feeling I will be shopping more at Niciola's Book Store at Westgate from now on.

John B.

Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

I agree. I have always found B & N stores to be unwelcoming. Nicola's may well see a bump in sales from this market change, but probably not much, or for very long, realistically.

Dante Marcos

Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

Corporate avarice is like a worm in an apple.

John B.

Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 8:42 p.m.

Sad, but not in any was surprising at this point. RIP, Borders (1971-2011).

John B.

Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

Gah! Make that 'way,' not 'was.'


Thu, Jul 21, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

My family and I will visit Borders for the last time this evening. I worked at the Borders home office for more than 10 years, and can't bear to go into the stores once the ghastly liquidation signs are hung everywhere.