Two dozen or so shoppers meandered the almost-empty aisles of the Pleasanton store Tuesday afternoon, picking up last-minute bargains in anticipation of the store's closing at 6 p.m. today.
Books and magazines were marked at steep discounts of 80 to 90 percent off, and even the shelves are up for grabs — for anyone willing to do some dismantling and hauling.
One employee who was stacking books on a cart Tuesday said she hadn't been told yet what the approximately 30,000-square-foot store is doing with its inventory, an odd assortment of various vampire-themed titles, celebrity-penned novels and odds and ends, including CDs, greeting cards, teen movie posters, Iraq road-maps and a recorded version of Sarah Palin's recent book .
In February a Borders Group press release said that the company “identified certain underperforming stores” for closure. More than 200 of them, in fact, are completing their liquidation of all fixed assets this week.
Going into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company said the closures were “a reflection of economic conditions, cost structures and viability, among other factors, and not on the dedication and productivity of the workforce in these stores.”
After Kmart owned and spun off Borders, the company got big and by 2003 the new company had grown to 1,249 stores worldwide. In 2004, Borders offered cafés and in 2007 installed digital video monitors in select stores. In 2009, Borders offered customers a free WiFi network. However, the company showed its last profit in 2006.
Pleasanton Economic Development Director Pamela Ott said the city has been in contact with several retailers it thinks would be a good fit for the space, which anchors a complex adjacent to and She said they would represent retail offerings not currently available in town.
"While it’s more than we have during good economic times, there are positive indications that the economy, and consumer spending, is on the uptick, albeit slowly," she said in an email interview with Pleasanton Patch.
The Borders closure leaves Pleasanton with two independent bookstores, and , though other stores do sell books and magazines. And the recent opening of Half Price Books in Dublin will help fill the void.
"The number of bookstores, and the corporate decision to close many Borders locations, is certainly a reflection of how people purchase today," Ott said.