Schuler Books & Music announced this morning that the Michigan-based mini-chain will close one of its two Grand Rapids outlets when the lease is up in April. Schuler Books has operated the 23,000-square-foot retail space on Alpine Avenue since 2003. Schuler Books will continue to do business in Grand Rapids at its 28th Street flagship store. There are also two Schuler bookstores in the Lansing area.
In a release, Schuler co-owner Cecile Fehsenfeld stated that the decision was made to close the Alpine Avenue store because of traffic issues, including a lack of visibility of the store’s façade from the road. The store is located in a shopping center. “The Alpine store has always done a lower volume of business than our other three locations,” she stated in the release, adding that Schuler, which is headquartered in Grand Rapids, intends to expand in Grand Rapids, including at its 28th Street location, “and elsewhere” in the state. The Alpine Avenue store closing sale will begin on February 14, with 25% off all books and 50% off all gift merchandise. Some store fixtures and café/restaurant equipment will also be for sale.
Schuler Books & Music was founded in 1982 by Bill and Cecile Fehsenfeld, who met while both were employed at Borders Books. At its peak, it operated three stores in Grand Rapids and two stores in the Lansing area. Last year, Schuler closed another underperforming store, the downtown Grand Rapids location, which was a 7,000-square-foot space that had been a Schuler store for six years.
Cecile Fehsenfeld told PW during a telephone interview on early Monday afternoon that the company will relocate to 28th Avenue some of the eight FT and 28 PT booksellers and cafe employees currently at Alpine Avenue. "Positions will be opening up, there will be turnover" over the course of the next 2-1/2 months, when Alpine Avenue closes, she said. The company employs a total of 250 employees in its corporate headquarters and its four stores, which includes booksellers and cafe workers.
Overall, Schuler Books & Music's revenues for their fiscal year 2013, which ends in February, have been "a little below flat," Fehsenfeld said. Sales at the other stores were flat in 2013, with the exception of Alpine Avenue, which was down. Schuler had to close all four of its stores for a day and one-half in December due to extreme weather conditions, which impacted the yearly totals.