A year almost to the day after dentist Kim Zizic purchased Crocodile Pie, a children’s bookstore in Libertyville, Ill., thus rescuing it at the last-minute from imminent demise, she’s given up. Crocodile Pie is slated to close August 14. The Chicagoland bookstore was founded in 1989 by Kim White, who was ready last summer to close the store to spend more time with her family, but sold it to Zizic instead on August 1,. The store stocks about 20,000 titles for children, from birth through YA, in a 400-square-foot space.
While regularly-scheduled story hours, musical performances, craft sessions, birthday parties, and other events drew parents and their children into the store, due to the continuing weak economy, sales, which store manager Amy Moran admitted had been “tough since day one,” had plummeted in recent months. “We were hoping to ride it out, but the hole got so deep,” she told PW, disclosing that the store generated less than $100 in sales on a recent Saturday.
Moran, who ran a children’s Irish dance school before being tapped by Zizic to manage the store, and one other employee will be searching for new jobs after the store closes. The six other employees, all college students, will be returning to school in the fall.
Crocodile Pie isn’t the only bookstore in Chicagoland announcing that it is closing its doors for good. Chicago’s Prairie Avenue Architecture Bookstore, beloved by architects and architecture buffs everywhere for the wealth of its inventory, is closing Sept. 1, unless they find a buyer before then. Wilbert and Marilyn Housbrouck, who founded the bookstore in 1974, and moved it to the Loop in 1995, blame the city of Chicago’s prohibitive 10.25% sales tax as the primary reason for the decision to close their store. And, finally, Borders’s flagship Chicagoland bookstore, on a heavily-trafficked corner of Michigan Avenue in the heart of the Magnificent Mile, is closing its doors in January, a decision which a Borders spokesperson attributed to that outlet failing to meet “profit objectives” in a very high-rent neighborhood.