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Queens Chronicle

Borders heads for unhappy ending

Atlas Park store to close. Creditors reject lone bid to save the chain

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Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 1:13 pm, Thu Aug 4, 2011.

The checkout line at Borders bookstore in the Atlas Park mall had doubled back on itself Monday afternoon.

The shelves and display tables still looked well-stocked, but the store was in the fourth day of its going out of business sale.

The book chain was ordered liquidated last week by a U.S. bankruptcy judge in Manhattan after creditors rejected a $215 million bid by the Phoenix-based Najafi Cos. to keep it going. All remaining 399 stores are expected to be lost, as well as 11,000 jobs.

The chain went into bankruptcy in February, and despite much publicity the Cooper Avenue store appeared to be doing business as usual on Thursday.

Come Friday morning, however, the windows were filled with large signs advertising massive discounts in an “everything must go” blitz. Robert Hartnett of Glendale came out on Friday with a few toys and a health book.

“I used to come here a lot when it opened, but not as much recently,” he said.

Hartnett said Borders was his main draw to Atlas Park. Customer Robert Fitzpatrick of Belle Harbor worried about the impact the closing will have on Atlas Park’s remaining businesses as he came out to pick up a few last bargains.

“We would come here all the time,” he said. “Obviously, it wasn’tenough.”

Mary Davis, public relations manager for Borders, said Monday that there is not yet a set date for closing down any store.

“We expect them all to wind down by the end of September,” she said.

RJ Ryan, senior property manager for Macerich, which owns the mall, said the company is keeping its options open for filling the space soon to be vacated.

He said retail, being a cyclical business, lends itself to innovation.

“Our company is well prepared and has been monitoring the situation at Atlas as we carefully consider and continue research for the future of the center,” Ryan said in an e-mail. “We take a long-term view and believe that situations like this pave the way for new retail innovations and successes at Atlas.”

Macerich purchased the forclosed Atlas property for $54 million in February.

The store is the only Borders in Queens with the exception of Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports.

A Borders company website states that Borders Bucks must be spent by July 31. Gift cards will be honored throughout the going out of business sale.

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