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Independents Show Strong Growth In New Store Openings

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January 17 – January 24, 2008 Edition

Independents
Show Strong Growth
In New Store Openings

TARRYTOWN, NY/1/14/08–The American Booksellers Association welcomed 115 new bookstores that opened for business in 2007. This was the third year in a row that the number of bookstore openings topped one hundred.

"We're happy to report that 115 ABA member stores opened in 2007," said ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz. "This is very good news and an indication of a growing trend among communities that are recognizing the unique contributions of local independent businesses. These new ABA member stores offer a one-of-a-kind environment and knowledgeable owners and staff who are dedicated to serving their neighborhoods."

The new bookstore openings were spread across 35 states, and included a branch store of Florida's Books & Books on Grand Cayman Island and a member store in La Paz, Mexico. The largest number of openings was in California, which welcomed 17 new stores; followed by eight openings in New York; seven each in Georgia and Oregon; six in Michigan; and five each in Colorado, Minnesota, and North Carolina.

On November 1, Cynthia Conigliaro celebrated the grand opening of Archivia Books, on New York's Upper East Side. The 800-square-foot store specializing in architecture, art, design, decorative arts, gardens, and interiors marks a return to bookselling for Conigliaro. For 11 years, Conigliaro and Joan Gers were co-owners of a similar, but much smaller, design-oriented bookstore. In 2001, the pair sold the store, but after the events of 9/11, the new owner found it difficult to keep the business going and within two years closed the store. At the time of the sale, Conigliaro planned to retire; however, she decided "retirement was awful and missed the book business after being in it for two decades."

Cherry Street Books in Alexandria, Minnesota, is actually on Broadway. "My sister once lived at 22 Cherry Street, and I always thought it sounded like it was right out of a novel," said owner Kathleen Pohlig. "Everyone asks about the name," she added. The 1,300-square-foot general bookstore opened in June. "We had one of our biggest sales days the first day that we were open," she said. "People were waiting in anticipation." Before Cherry Street opened, Alexandria had only a Christian bookstore and a used-book store.

Mysterious Future Bookstore, a 2,000-square-foot science fiction and mystery bookstore in Santa Rosa, California, which opened in late April, has benefited from the support of other area bookstores, said owner Sharon Halton. "None of us can carry every book," she explained. "So we send each other customers. Participating in a local book fair has also helped us [attract new customers]."

Lynne Benedict opened StoryVille Books in Federal Heights, a suburb of Denver, Colorado, in late August. The 3,150-square-foot store, which sells used books, is working towards doubling its customer base to achieve profitability." A self-described "bookaholic" with some retail experience, Benedict became a bookseller after becoming "tired of corporate America."

StoryVille's customers, who come from across the city, are drawn to the bookstore's open space and wide aisles, with artwork from local artists on the walls. "We're not a cramped bookstore," said Benedict. "We're specifically designed to be wheelchair and handicapped accessible."

 

About American Booksellers Association

Founded in 1900, the American Booksellers Association is a not-for-profit trade organization devoted to meeting the needs of its core members — independently owned bookstores with storefront locations — through education, information dissemination, business products and services, and advocacy. ABA exists to protect and promote the interests of independent retail book businesses, as well as to protect the First Amendment rights of every American, and it actively supports free speech, literacy, and programs that support local and independent retail shops. A board of nine booksellers, representing thousands of members, governs the Association. ABA is headquartered in Tarrytown, New York.