With the February sale of its building—which had been halted by the courts in 2001—39-year-old Main Street Book Shop in White Plains, N.Y., will close its doors at the end of April. Store owner Joshua Makanoff, who co-owned the building, plans to continue to operate the separate book fair business that he started in 1975 to service the tristate area.
"I survived for quite a few years with Borders three blocks away," Makanoff told PW. "I don't think an independent store can go head-to-head with a humongous store right next door," he added, referring to the Barnes & Noble slated to open in the $325-million City Center next to Main Street Book Shop. "We're looking for another spot," Makanoff said, "but it's very difficult when you have eight superstores in the county."
Many of Main Street Book Shop's difficulties in recent years stem not just from competition from Borders and Barnes & Noble, but from the city's downtown rehabilitation program and the attendant construction, which curtailed foot traffic. Parking, too, became problematic with the demolition of the parking garage located directly behind the store. Despite all that, said Makanoff, "I held on to the store because it was woven around the wholesale book fairs."
Only one employee besides Makanoff remains at the 1,600-sq.-ft. bookstore—Susan Church, who has managed Main Street Book Shop for the past 25 years.