Oct. 31, 2017 – West Bend, WI – Book World, 1602 S. Main Street, in West Bend is closing. According to a report in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribute, Book World announced today it will close all its 45 stores in seven states.
Book World, which touts itself as ‘family owned since 1976,’ opened its store in the Paradise Pavilion in October 2014.
According to Book World, “The company will begin liquidation sales Nov. 2. Each sale will run until all of inventory is sold.”
Company officials say a change in shopping habits and online sales impacted their decision.
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Neighbors in West Bend remember January 2014 when Gary and Karen Christianson and his wife made the difficult decision to close Fireside Books & Gifts.
Tough decision for Fireside Books & Gifts
Some interest is being generated on the sale of West Bend’s hometown book store, Fireside Books & Gifts.
“Despite our accountant’s advice we put a sign in the store, feeling that a local person who knows the business might be interested and we’ve had several people contact us. We’re hoping something will come together,” said Karen Christianson, co-owner of Fireside Books with her husband Gary.
After more than 30 years in business the Christiansons are selling the shop at 1331 W. Paradise Dr. “My husband had some health problems,” Christianson said. “It was a hard decision but balanced against health you have to say this is what we’re going to do.”
The Christiansons have posted the store on Craig’s List and they sent an email blast along with direct-marketing mailings to gift and book shop owners in southeast Wisconsin. The latest step has been the basic ‘For Sale’ sign in the store window.
“We’ve operated in a high-traffic location for the last 15 years and the big bonus is our 30-year history of success,” said Christianson. “This is not a start-up business; we have wonderful staff that’s trained and can help customers find books, even out-of-print books. It’s such a pleasant business to be in because people want what you have to sell.”
A profitable business, Christianson said the competition with e-books and ordering online hasn’t really affected them. “We have maintained a good, strong customer base and a lot of people are moving away from e-books, except for vacation reading because they just like the feeling of a book.
“Also many more people say they really like the experience of coming to the store and supporting local merchants; don’t want to be dealing with an Amazon that doesn’t even create local jobs,” Christianson said.
Questioned whether they would close if the business is not sold by a certain timeline, Christianson said they “haven’t made that decision yet, we’ll see what happens.”
“Lots of people are saying ‘we don’t want to see this business go away and we want you to find somebody,’” said Christianson.