Santa Clarans will have to find a new place to purchase books. The Santa Clara Books, Inc. store at Santa Clara Square on the corner of Bowers Avenue and Scott Boulevard will close on May 15.
Fueled by poor foot traffic and parking problems, the store, part of the independent Books, Inc. chain, could not generate enough revenue to remain open in Santa Clara.
“I was devastated when we heard, as I love our community and put my all into this store,” said Santa Clara Books, Inc. children’s bookseller Robin Stern. “I even joked that I wanted to be buried there.”
Like Stern, Books, Inc. President Michael Tucker said he was heartbroken when the decision was made to close, and that Santa Clara Square’s developer, Irvine Company, made as many efforts as they could to keep the store alive.
“We hung in there – for a bookstore our average sale is only $25 – if you don’t have the foot traffic, you’re dead,” he said. “Much to their credit, the Irvine Company was great with us. They gave us breaks on what was happening with the rent and everything else to make this work. It became clear it was not going to, which broke my heart because we put a lot of work into putting that store in there … We really did a nice job on that store and we were hoping for that store to be strong for us, but it was not.”
According to Tucker, any member of the Santa Clara staff who wanted to remain employed has been relocated to another Books, Inc. location and the popular Sunday morning story time with Stern will continue when the brand new Pruneyard Shopping Center store at 1875 Bascom Ave. Suite 600 in Campbell opens later this month.
“Everybody that was working there found a home,” he said. “We don’t like losing folks. They’ll all be working for us in one place or another.”
Since its opening, Books, Inc. has welcomed authors for book signings, organized book clubs and held a handful of events, like the Where’s Waldo? search that encouraged customers to visit Santa Clara Square retailers to find Waldo and Wanda and win prizes and the recent celebration of Independent Bookstore Day.
“At any given time,” said Tucker, “the last thing that you want to see is losing a bookstore in the community … it’s like a tooth being knocked out. When a neighborhood supports a bookstore and they lose it, it’s not a good thing. We hold on as long as we can to be able to be that center for a community, but it has to make sense. Everything suffers if we’re not always maintaining a least a break even.”
There will, however, be no going out of business sale in Santa Clara. Much of the stock and all of the fixtures will be relocated to the Pruneyard store in preparation for its May 26 opening. Stern, who will give her final story time in Santa Clara this Sunday, is planning a pre-Pruneyard opening story time on Sunday, May 20 at 11 a.m. on the grassy knoll in front of Peet’s Coffee and near the new store. Regular in store story time will resume on May 27. Visit www.booksinc.net for more information.