austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

We need refrigeration in our new, improved display

So the news dropped, as is the modern custom, with someone saying something on Facebook that they probably were supposed to keep confidential. bunny_hugger last year found out there's a Facebook group for the bookstore she used to work at, and still fills in on now and then. It's hard to leave a bookstore job completely. Bookstores attract employees who understand bookstores are part of Academia, and part of the Art world, and who like being guides. It's hard to leave that behind. New bookstores attract that kind of employee anyway. Used bookstores attract employees who are trying to breed their own little pocket universes and want to protect that from anyone who hasn't been a regular customer for at least ten years.

Anyway, someone on the group asked if there'd been any announcement what would happen to the small chain (four stores, then) when the one in the Eastwood Town Centre would close. (Something like that, anyway. I'm on on the group and it's been two months so I likely have the details wrong.) This prompted people to ask: wait, the Eastwood store's closing?

By the end of the day the chain was confirming this to the local news. They weren't able to get a lease renewal at the Town Centre, one of those open-air malls with detached stores that are all people build anymore because somehow they think we want to go outside in winter. So the bookstore would close in a couple weeks and that was that.

I was able to get to the store just the once between the announcement and its closing. Of the two stores in the area, the one bunny_hugger works at would be the better spot for me, most of the time, since there I felt fewer doubts about asking for her employee discount and sometimes they even recognized me and didn't wait for me to ask. But the used book sections were different, and the Eastwood store would more often have copies of Michigan History or the science fiction magazines when I had the occasional taste to buy one.

Apparently the trouble is that the Eastwood owners have wanted to do something with this tiny storefront squeezed between the bookstore and the shoe warehouse. The spot's too small to keep a tenant and it was only when I went to investigate that I became aware there even was a space. So they figure if instead of one big bookstore and one small vacant space they'd be better off with two medium-sized storefronts. But the smaller storefront wouldn't be enough to let the bookstore hold a cafe, and that wouldn't be viable either. So now the bookstore's down one shop, and the Town Centre down a store and hoping it'll renovate into having two stores.

bunny_hugger's gotten to fill in a couple times at the bookstore since then --- the Facebook group makes it easy to find out someone needs a sub tomorrow when she doesn't have anything going on --- but only gotten intermittent little bits of gossip. A couple of the closed store's staff have been transferred over to the still-open one. But that requires demoting or cutting hours from a lot of people. A lot of the closed store's staff was just let go, and on short notice.

And, of course, it leaves the area down one bookstore. There's two big new-book bookstores left, the remaining one and the Barnes and Noble on the westside. But the metro area probably is still able to support three. (And the chain would be more stable with four stores than three.) But with a bookstore of that size on the east side and on the west side, the logical spot for a third would be ... well, exactly where they just got kicked out from.

Trivia: Quaker Oats had Jay Ward Studios produce cartoons for 22 years, starting in June 1962. Source: The Moose That Roared: The Story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a Flying Squirrel, and a Talking Moose, Keith Scott.

Currently Reading: The Hungry World: America's Cold War Battle Against Poverty in Asia, Nick Cullather.

PS: More at the VFW Ann Arbor Pinball Museum.


Think Stern's Pinball was a generic enough pinball-part game title? How about Gottlieb's 1960 Flipper? Don't look too closely at that rabbit in the magic hat, because it's a little demon-possessed-y. Sorry.


The German release of Bally's 1967 Rockmakers, which may be an ordinary enough electromechanical for the era. It's just the styling of the art that I keep looking at. You know?


Pretty near everyone was delighted with the name of this 1967 Bally game. Spent a lot of time saying it to one another. The styling is great, too.

Tags: lansing, vfw pinball museum

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