Vermont store eyes former Borders in Saratoga Springs

The owners of the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt., are interested in opening a second

The owners of the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt., are interested in opening a second bookstore in Saratoga Springs, possibly in the former Borders at Broadway and Division Street.

“We’ve had a lot of customers from [Saratoga Springs],” said Chris Morrow, one of the owners of the independent family-owned bookstore.

“The more I looked into it, the better it seemed,” he said Thursday.

He said Saratoga Springs is a “robust town” with many great institutions, such as Skidmore College, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Yaddo and the City Center. “It’s a town that appreciates art, books, and culture.”

Morrow said he has talked to Myron M. Hunt Inc., which is based in Amherst near Buffalo and owns the empty building.

Borders closed its Saratoga Springs location more than a year ago, along with its 641 other bookstores across the country.

“At this point I need to raise some investment money,” Morrow said. He would not say how much money he needs to raise, only that it is “a significant amount of money.”

“We wouldn’t want the whole space,” Morrow said about Borders’ two-story, 25,000-square-foot former home.

Earlier this year Chris Hunt of Myron M. Hunt said the company would prefer to lease the entire space to one tenant rather than split up the building.

But the building was designed so that it could be split up, with the second floor having its own outside entrance.

Mayor Scott Johnson and members of the Downtown Business Association expressed concern this summer that the location has been empty for more than a year. They would like to see a tenant in the building to help attract people to the city’s downtown, like Borders did before it closed.

John DeMarco, owner of The Lyrical Ballad Bookstore at 7 Phila St., said Thursday he would welcome Northshire opening in downtown Saratoga Springs.

“I think it would be great to have them in town,” he said.

The Lyrical Ballad, which has been open for more than 40 years, is an antiquarian bookshop that deals in used and rare books.

“It’s a hard time for the new book business,” DeMarco said, though adding: “There are a lot of people who want them in town.

“But are they going to support it? They would like to have a place to have a reading club,” he said.

Northshire will have to sell a lot of new books to pay the hefty rent on a Broadway location, he said.

DeMarco said he would like to work something out with Northshire if the Vermont bookstore does locate downtown. He said he could sell some of his rare books there and “we could send people back and forth.”

The only new books Lyrical Ballad sells are those about local history or by local authors.

The Northshire Bookstore was opened on Main Street in Manchester Center in September 1976 by Ed and Barbara Morrow. Chris Morrow is one of their sons. The bookstore moved into a former restaurant in 1985 and added a wing some years later.

Categories: Business

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