Schuler Books & Music, the venerable mini-chain of Michigan bookstores launched in 1982, will close its 15-year-old outlet in Lansing, one of its anchor locations, in February.
Schuler Books is one of the major stores at the city's open air mall, the Eastwood Towne Center. The company, which expects to close the store by mid-February, intends to transfer some of the store's 40 employees to other stores, and will lay off others.
Co-owner of Schuler Books, Cecile Fehsenfeld, said in a release that the Lansing location faced "unique challenges" because of issues that arose with the mall's owners. She disclosed that after the mall changed hands in 2005, the store's real estate taxes went up “dramatically." A reconfiguration of the mall, set for later this year, also presented problems. It would have resulted in Schuler Books' 24,000-square-foot store being cut down to 15,000 square feet. That move would have forced the store to lose its café.
Besides the Okemos store and the Schuler Books flagship location in Grand Rapids, the chain also operates Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor. Schuler Books closed two of its stores, in Walker and in Grand Rapids, in 2014. (Schuler Books acquired Nicola's Books in 2014, after owner Nicola Rooney retired.)
“While we deeply regret having to close the Eastwood store, strategically we will use this as opportunity to explore new growth areas which have the potential to enhance the future strength of the company as a whole,” Fehsenfeld said in the release.
At Schuler Books' peak, it had three locations in Grand Rapids and two in the Lansing area.