Just found out a couple days ago that a famous bookstore in downtown Calgary will be closing: The McNally Robinson bookstore. A vintage jewel in the core, a place to escape the cold corporate world on lunch hours and evenings. My hidden place.
I'm pissed off for several reasons: First and foremost, closing a bookstore is just wrong in so many levels - the benefit you get of having a bookstore close to work makes working in downtown a more enjoyable experience. Second, the building is part of the architectural heritage of Stephen Ave. The bookstore itself brought life to the avenue, it was essential, now it will probably become another one of those unfortunate places called Starbucks.
But why? Why closing such a magnificent, cultured place in downtown??
High costs of real estate in the downtown core, as well as high labour expenses in Alberta's boom.
But... It had a restaurant, and it was always busy during peak hours!
Apparently it wasn't enough to keep up with high rental costs. The store and its restaurant did well during weekday lunch hours, but business was comparatively quiet the rest of the week.
So, who is to blame?
If Calgary's downtown didn't die after 6pm on weekdays, and if rental costs weren't so high because of this so called "boom economy", The McNally Robinson bookstore could survive another 10 years. Unfortunately, it's not the case :(