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Posted on Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

'Borders' signs to be removed from downtown Ann Arbor store on Monday

By Lisa Carolin

A downtown Ann Arbor landmark will be losing some of its identity Monday when the signage is removed from the closed Borders flagship store "01" on East Liberty Street.

Thumbnail image for Borders photo.jpg

The owners of the building are donating the letters to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation for the purpose of raising funds.

The Binc Foundation, which Borders employees began in 1996 to help booksellers with emergency financial assistance, has expanded since the liquidation of Borders stores and now assists anyone working in bookstores nationwide.

The letters will be sold during the month of January, and anyone interested in purchasing any of the letters should email the foundation.

Pamela French, executive director of the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, believes that this may be the last Borders signage remaining, since most of the other locations have been stripped.

"We are in contact with thousands of Borders alumni across the country, and although they have moved on to other jobs, their time and experiences at Borders provided very fond memories," said French. "Giving those people the opportunity to take home a small piece of the Borders they loved will be like returning these letters to their family."

Hughes Properties, based in Bingham Farms, acquired the long-term rights to redevelop the two-story, 44,000-square-foot retail space at 612 E. Liberty at Maynard, where Borders closed its doors in 2011. It was formerly the home of Jacobson's department store.

Hughes Properties has the property available for retail and office lease.

Adjacent former headquarters offices have been leased to Barracuda Networks.

"Speaking as residents of the area, it will be quite some time before Ann Arbor forgets Borders," said French.

"I doubt that the lettering on the building will make much difference. That building will be the 'Borders' building for many years to come, especially for those who worked for Borders or were long time customers."



Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

kinda off topic but what was the name of the bookstore in Briarwood about 30-35 years ago ? for some reason B&D comes to mind.

Britain W.

Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

tdw, at various points in the past couple of decades, there was a Waldenbooks in the Sears corridor, a B. Dalton Booksellers in the Lord and Taylor corridor, and a Doubleday Book Company in the JCPenney corridor. Finally, Borders Express [successor to Waldenbooks] was in the JCP corridor until Borders started to close stores.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

mr_annarbor....Thanks..... one less thing to bug me today


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Waldenbooks. Borders bought that chain at some point.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 4:48 a.m.

"A downtown Ann Arbor landmark will be losing some of its identity" Sorry, but Borders lost its identity years before this.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 5:08 a.m.

True. Ann Arbor banks know that the original Borders store was around the corner, above another store. This massive chain Borders changed at least two moves earlier, even before the K-Mart purchase.

Milton Shift

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 4:32 a.m.

This would be the perfect location for a new supermarket - something downtown Ann Arbor badly needs. It's really the one big thing our city center is missing.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

I worked on that building during it's re-construction during the winter of '93-94. It was an engineering feat to keep the building's shell standing while the interior structure was rebuilt using modern materials and methods. I'll always remember that winter because my grandfather died and because it was just about the coldest winter I ever lived through!


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 4:24 a.m.

Certainly the coldest recorded temperature in Ann Arbor when that January 1994 we dropped to -22F/-30C.

Seasoned Cit

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

Did they get permission from the Historical Society? Such items are an important part do Ann Arbor's history. Shouldn't the letters go in some yet to be built museum?


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 12:30 a.m.

Maybe the original signs, but the ones up now are the same that were up across the country.

Michigan Man

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

No one has contacted me - Worked, I think, in their 1st location, old Wahrs store in winter of 1973. Had a day job at St. Joes - walked over to state street have dinner, then started at 6:00 PM until closing which was either 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM - cannot remember. Had worked at Overbecks since my high school days eight years before my Boarders experience so I knew the A2 book scene back in the early 60's pretty well. Also played a little tennis with Tom Boarders.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

You played tennis with him and still can't spell his name correctly?


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

We could really use a new retail bookstore downtown!!!!

David Paris

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

Mark, there may be one on the way... washington/

Wystan Stevens

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

Has anyone studied the effect of the Borders store closings -- in Ann Arbor and nationally -- on book sales at Barnes and Noble? Or has the rise of internet book selling had a negative impact at B&N as well?


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 2:10 a.m.

I think it's safe to say that internet book sales and e-books are killing the retail book stores. Just like internet newspapers are killing the printed newspaper industry. Perhaps, one day, we can harness the power of the internet and use it for good such as putting Walmart out of business?


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 12:28 a.m.

A better study would be to examine how Border's closing has impacted local bookstores.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

I still think of it as Jacobsons! Then again I remember driving through the two Beer vaults.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

I was about to say the same thing, action. The Borders Bldg will always be the one on State for me. When my kids were little, they loved going to the Children's Books area there, on the 2nd floor, in the back, down two steps. Very cozy. I'd say my youngest, who is 32 now, was about five then. Back then, you could walk up to any clerk in Borders and vaguely describe a book you'd read about and forgotten the title and author of, and invariably the clerk would know just what you were having a hard time remembering. They took a long literature test as part of the application process, and they were all voracious readers. So impressive they were, then. And the bldg on Liberty will always be Jacobson's. Two really good stores; so sad they're gone.