ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Ohio Valley Mall will not be without a bookstore for long because Books-A-Million is set to replace Waldenbooks later this year.
The Monday announcement followed last week's court decision that will allow Borders Group Inc., parent company of Waldenbooks, to liquidate its 399 remaining stores. The Waldenbooks store in St. Clairsville is holding a going-out-of-business sale and is scheduled to close by the end of September.
Joe Bell, director of corporate communications for the Cafaro Co., which owns the mall, said Cafaro has eight locations throughout the United States that now have Borders stores. Of these, he said, most will become Books-A-Million properties.
Photo by Casey Junkins
Books-A-Million will take over the space soon to be vacated by the Waldenbooks store at the Ohio Valley Mall.
Books-A-Million now operates a large store at The Highlands in Ohio County. However, Bell said space issues should not be a problem for the book retailer in the mall.
"They have realized they don't need such huge stores," said Bell. "We feel they are a great fit for our mall. The people of the Ohio Valley deserve a great bookstore, and we are committed to bringing it to them."
Bell said Cafaro began negotiating with Books-A-Million officials upon learning Borders might liquidate its stores. He said the move shows the mall remains committed to serving its customers.
Books-A-Million officials could not be reached for comment.
The mall once had a Cole's bookstore in addition to Waldenbooks. That retailer closed to make room for the new Stone & Thomas store in 1996. Elder-Beerman later assumed control of the space. Waldenbooks is one of only a few original stores remaining from the mall's 1979 opening.
Though most of those shopping at Waldenbooks on Monday were glad to know a new bookstore will replace the soon-to-close shop, Bonnie Keiser of Yorkville will miss Waldenbooks.
"I am glad it will be replaced by a bookstore, but I am going to really miss Walden's. This is one of the last original stores left in the mall," she said. "It is really just sad."
Bill Saffell of Clarington said he has never shopped at Books-A-Million but is glad to know the new store is coming. Jacobsburg resident Lori Bumba said her children love spending time at The Highlands' Books-A-Million store, so they should like having one closer to home.
"I am glad it won't just be another empty store," she said.
Jill Ater of Brilliant is glad to know the mall will still have a bookstore.
"I read some online books, but it is still nice to have paper books. This lets you show how much you like the books," she said.
Bell said the mall hopes to have the new store up and running in time for the holiday shopping season.