Recently, during my three-hour lunch break, I popped into Borders on Church Street. Beckoned by the chintzy "Going Out of Business" liquidation signs hung in all the windows, and the promise of a good deal or two, I figured I'd see what was going on in the now-bankrupt behemoth bookseller.
The answer, it turns out, is a whole lot. The place was packed and there was a holiday-season-length line at the checkout.Who knew there were so many people with so much free time on their hands/money to burn on Nora Roberts books?
Borders, a husk of its former self, now has all the charm of a Dollar Store, with garish signs in bold capital letters alerting bargain hunters to the fact that mysteries were 25 percent off, novels were 30 percent off and bodice-rippers were a whopping 40 percent off. It was my lucky day! I love any book that places the words "throbbing" and "member" side by side in a sentence.
In addition to picking up the large-print version of Sarah Palin's timeless classic Going Rogue, I also snagged a copy of Idiot's Guide to Print Journalism and a pop-up Rachael Ray cookbook. Yum-O! As I waited in line to pay for my moderately discounted tomes, I was struck by a couple things. One was the fact that all of us in there were like crows scavenging roadkill entrails. We were unabashedly sucking on the bones of this deceased beast and laughing as we carried armfuls of chick lit and Scandinavian thrillers to the register.
The second thing was the fact that Borders is an awfully huge space to fill. Twenty thousand square feet, to be exact. Which is about the same amount of square footage as the Kardashian klan has in its various kasas and kondos. So what could fill that space? And don't say Target, cuz I got news for you folks: It ain't gonna happen. You know what else isn't going to go in there? Good Vibes, Babeland or any other purveyor of sexual accoutrements. Trust me — I've inquired as to the possibility of setting up a New England outpost and it's not in the cards.
But really, what might be a good idea for that space, ignoring the fact that rent is most likely oppressive for anything other than a national retailer? If money wasn't an object, what would be a good addition to the top block of Church Street, which has come to be seen by some as Burlington's retail ghetto? Give us your most creative ideas, and if we get enough clever suggestions that aren't Target, we'll print them.