Borders Books & Music in Utica, Michigan © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com
Whether you consider it a sign of the times or a casualty of technology, seeing the big, yellow "closing" banner draped off the side of the Utica Borders is just sad. The Utica store is one of four Borders stores closing in Michigan and one of 200 closing across the nation.
Borders Group, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the first quarter of 2011, but the reality of seeing a store pared down to its empty shelves and least-loved inventory of books is especially crushing. It will get worse yet when the doors actually close for good this week -- especially for us Michiganders, who had first-row seats to the success and expansion of the chain.
In case you didn't know, the headquarters for Borders Group, Inc. is located in Ann Arbor, the city in which brothers Louis and Tom Borders opened their first Borders bookstore: a used book store and a popular hangout for students at the University of Michigan. Its success prompted the brothers to open several more bookstores in the Midwest, but it wasn't until 1985 that they opened their first superstore: a big space filled with an unprecedented number of books, a knowledgeable staff, an in-house coffee house, and plenty of cushy chairs for lounging. The model proved especially successful and Borders expanded rapidly. Kmart bought the Borders chain in 1992 but spun off the subsidiary (together with Waldenbooks) into Borders Group, Inc. in 1994.
History of Borders Group, Inc. / Funding Universe