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Beowulf

Bentley's is closing

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There have been some discussions about Bentley's Bookstore closing. I saw a few postings from last summer on this topic. Looks like it is going to happen. There were signs on the door when I went by there yesterday.

I really hate that they are leaving. I love the IDEA of a bookstore downtown, but I never really shopped at Bentley's except to wander in occasionally. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that was the case with too many of their patrons.

The problem was that I had a hard time finding something I wanted among their used selections. When Open Book was downtown, I shopped there regularly. I was disappointed when it consolidated operations at Pleasantburg. Perhaps another type of book store would make it, either a national chain (much as I would prefer an independent) with broader appeal and selection, or a niche bookstore.

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Yes, I saw those posters as well. Now, instead of just the 50% OFF everything, you see STORE CLOSING SALE. I knew it was coming, but until yesterday, I had heard no official word on when or if it would actually happen. Greenville is losing one of its most beloved Main Street shops, and even a nice national bookstore will not be able to replace the authenticity and charm of Bentley's Bookshop.

I wonder if a Borders could be implemented into the City Hall plaza site plan? It could be a unique design for Greenville and be called, "Borders on Broad." Or perhaps another proprietary shop could go there and be called, "Books on Broad." Anyway, someone needs to step up and fill in downtown's soon-to-be vacant spot in that department. A downtown like Greenville's cannot exist without a bookseller.

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I wonder if a Borders could be implemented into the City Hall plaza site plan? It could be a unique design for Greenville and be called, "Borders on Broad." Or perhaps another proprietary shop could go there and be called, "Books on Broad." Anyway, someone needs to step up and fill in downtown's soon-to-be vacant spot in that department. A downtown like Greenville's cannot exist without a bookseller.

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I think this is an example of retail Darwinism- a used bookstore is typically a low-end strip mall tenant. A better use of the space will be found.

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I think this is an example of retail Darwinism- a used bookstore is typically a low-end strip mall tenant. A better use of the space will be found.

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I hate to say it, but this is the kind of thing that needs to happen downtown as Greenville grows and improves. I like the idea of a cool, local bookstore, but Bentley's wasn't it. Whether we have a local one in the area or not, we definitely need a Borders or B&N downtown - preferably a nice 2-3 story one with a good selection.

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all i can really say is...."meh", i really never had a call for a used book, any book i usually buy, i get new...only went in the store once and they really didn't have anything i was looking for, i thought the best part about the store was the cat....and i think the old furniture building next to the army navy store would make a good multi-level borders or barnes and noble, or open book. that building needs to be redone anyway, i think this would be a good call for it and give some more traffic to the west end.

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I wonder if the Open Book would come back downtown?

I recall there was a branch at Bell Tower Mall that moved downtown when the mall went bust. When OP moved to Pleasantburg Shopping Center from McAlister Square, the area was much more of a retail magnet than it is now, and downtown wasn't as much of a retail attraction as it is now.

Plus moving the OP downtown would help distance it from the Barnes and Noble stores on Haywood and Woodruff roads.

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Why does the movie, "You've Got Mail," spring to mind right now? Although I've not been in Bentley's for a while, I really did enjoy knowing that it was there should I ever have the need to run in and look for something. I don't mind used books myself, especially one that has barely had the binding cracked. I suppose I learned the value of those while in college. I always felt like I had accomplished something by buying a barely-used text book for nearly 2/3 the cost of the brand new ones. Oddly, I'd have to agree that a huge discounter like B&N and Borders would be a welcome addition to downtown though. It'd certainly fill the vacancy that Bentley's will leave as well as draw more into downtown specifically for books.

I don't know about y'all, but I do drive across town to Barnes & Noble from time to time as a destination, not merely a "while were in the vacinity, let's stop there.." type thing.

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I think this is an example of retail Darwinism- a used bookstore is typically a low-end strip mall tenant. A better use of the space will be found.

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all i can really say is...."meh", i really never had a call for a used book, any book i usually buy, i get new...only went in the store once and they really didn't have anything i was looking for, i thought the best part about the store was the cat....and i think the old furniture building next to the army navy store would make a good multi-level borders or barnes and noble, or open book. that building needs to be redone anyway, i think this would be a good call for it and give some more traffic to the west end.

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A lot of used booksellers don't really go out of business when they close their storefronts. They market exclusively on the internet. Bentley's has sold through Abebooks for a long time, for example. Does anyone know if they are ceasing operations entirely, or just closing the storefront?

There is usually a healthy used book market in any sizable town, and lots of folks don't want to give up the aesthetics of browsing through a real (as opposed to virtual) old bookshop. Bentley's has a lot of square footage in that store--much more than they really need. I suspect that, if they had taken 1/3 to 1/2 the square footage that they have had, maybe on a second story or just off Main, they would have made a better go of it.

I used to visit them regularly when they were in the old convenience store bldg on E. North St. They moved downtown after I left G'ville. I'm sorry to see them go.

If I were going to open a used bookstore downtown, I'd try to get as close to the Map Shop as possible, or open it down near Falls Park, and take probably 1,000 SF max. But the earlier post was also dead on--Borders downtown would be the real coup.

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Interesting article in this week's GSA Business about downtown retail; it stated that rents downtown for stores are from $20 to the mid-$20s. I did some quick reseearch and a Colliers report on Greenville retail states that asking rents for retail space around town range from a little under $7 (on the south side) to $13 (in north Greenville and Woodruff Road). Downtown didn't seem to be included in those figures. I question those figures a bit in light of a 2004 Colliers report stating that rents ranged from just under $8 to just under $14. I was unable to find Haywood Mall rents but I think they are significantly higher than citywide averages.

No wonder that stores downtown are closing. With competition between downtown mom-and-pop businesses paying high rents vs. suburban chains paying low rents (or high-volume chains at Haywood paying possibly comparable rents), it's easy to see why downtown retail is struggling.

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Interesting article in this week's GSA Business about downtown retail; it stated that rents downtown for stores are from $20 to the mid-$20s. I did some quick reseearch and a Colliers report on Greenville retail states that asking rents for retail space around town range from a little under $7 (on the south side) to $13 (in north Greenville and Woodruff Road). Downtown didn't seem to be included in those figures. I question those figures a bit in light of a 2004 Colliers report stating that rents ranged from just under $8 to just under $14. I was unable to find Haywood Mall rents but I think they are significantly higher than citywide averages.

No wonder that stores downtown are closing. With competition between downtown mom-and-pop businesses paying high rents vs. suburban chains paying low rents (or high-volume chains at Haywood paying possibly comparable rents), it's easy to see why downtown retail is struggling.

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Interesting numbers. The data you reported seem to reflect a healthy, growing retail market. Higher rent prices downtown reflect the strength of our urban core - real estate SHOULD be significantly higher there than in the suburbs. If it weren't, we would have a huge problem.

As we stated before, the good mom and pop stores have built their customer bases and will continue to thrive downtown despite national retailers moving in. The ones that don't meet enough people's needs will unfortunately not survive.

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I agree with you.

I am concerned though that landlords are just demanding rents that they think they can find a tenant to pay- even if the high rent drives out a current store and the replacement tenant that can pay such rent is a restaurant, not a store. Thus high rents could reflect restaurant demand for downtown space, not retail demand. The GSA Business article is online and is interesting.

I also still think the powers that be need to be getting another big retail anchor for downtown. The Mast General Store definitely helps, but we need more. Critical mass is key in retail success.

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If nothing else, it will be great to turn an eyesore into an attractive development in this area of Main. I think a 2-3 story Borders, or even a mix of proven national retail (J. Crew, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Ann Taylor, etc.) would be perfect. What do you think?

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I agree with the above posts. I think a department store and/or A-list in-line tenants are a long shot but a Borders and/or an IMAX movie theater should be within reach.

If Birmingham could get a new department store (a Parisian) built downtown (admittedly, a replacement for a larger store) as part of an office building, so can Greenville. I'd think it would take pressure and/or incentives from public officials, plus a good real estate deal, but the powers that be should be at least trying.

I don't see a Haywood Mall-type department store being built anywhere downtown; it woud be a small branch.

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Unfortunately the Birmingham Downtown Parisian which was built in the late 80's, is a small (specialty store size) store that Parisian did as a token, while closing their larger 4 level downtown store. With the Belk purchase, this store's days are numbered. It's never really been a money maker (it was simply there because Parisian was based there) and basically sold only hosiery, cosmetics, dress shirts, etc. to office workers.

On another note, that one store IS Birmingham's downtown retail scene, while Greenville fortunately has alot going on.

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Interesting article in this week's GSA Business about downtown retail; it stated that rents downtown for stores are from $20 to the mid-$20s. I did some quick reseearch and a Colliers report on Greenville retail states that asking rents for retail space around town range from a little under $7 (on the south side) to $13 (in north Greenville and Woodruff Road). Downtown didn't seem to be included in those figures. I question those figures a bit in light of a 2004 Colliers report stating that rents ranged from just under $8 to just under $14. I was unable to find Haywood Mall rents but I think they are significantly higher than citywide averages.

No wonder that stores downtown are closing. With competition between downtown mom-and-pop businesses paying high rents vs. suburban chains paying low rents (or high-volume chains at Haywood paying possibly comparable rents), it's easy to see why downtown retail is struggling.

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I know this is not located downtown, but does anyone know anything about Fiction Addiction? I have not been there, but am hoping to locate another shop somewhere around Greenville similar to Bentley's Bookshop. In the Northeast you can even find fantastic used bookshops in small towns.

Edit: looks like FA even has a store cat named Miles! :)

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I am already an occasional shopper at The Open Book, as you may have noticed by my recent posts in the "Downtown Retail" thread. I like the quiet atmosphere and good selection of local books you can find there. I am hoping to find a small used book store with classically antiquated charm and modest sophistication, much like what I sincerely loved about Bentley's Bookshop on Main Street. Obviously its location had much to do with that charm and sophistication, but it is the type of bookshop you would always find something unique when you weren't looking for it. I have been to numerous shops very similar to Bentley's in the Northeast - places you might often find old books about early life in the region.

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