SARATOGA SPRINGS — The
owner of Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT
confirmed Wednesday that he is seriously considering opening a second location
in the Spa City.
Chris Morrow said the plan is still very much tentative, but
the former location of Borders Bookstore on Broadway is among the locations he has
looked at. (Borders closed in April 2011
and the Broadway storefront has been vacant since then.)
Morrow said he was not at liberty, yet, to discuss other locations
“We’re very excited about the prospect of coming to Saratoga,”
Morrow said Saratoga
is a natural spot for a second Northshire for several reasons including
proximity to Skidmore College,
SPAC, and the City Center.
Also, “there seems to be a well-educated, well-to-do populous that would be interested
in what we have to offer.”
Of course, he also cited GlobalFoundries. It seems every
business, however large or small, sees GloFo as a big reason to head to the
“Saratoga has a
tremendous amount going for it,” Morrow said.
Morrow said he’s fielded numerous requests via email from city residents
who want him to open a Saratoga
location. Their wishes may soon be coming true.
As an independently-owned bookstore, Northshire offers a
different experience than chain bookstores, Morrow said. “Being a local store
with on-site ownership, we have much more flexibility in terms of how and what
we do with the community,” he said. “Our choice of product is not dictated by
far-off corporate headquarters.”
Though it’s locally-owned, Morrow said Northshire isn’t immune from
the challenges that forced Borders’ closure.
“The advent of the electronic book
has challenged all brick and mortar bookstores and clearly had a role to play
in Borders’ demise,” he said. “You have to adapt and be nimble at what you do.”
I put a call into the owner of the Borders
building, Myron Hunt, as well as the Downtown Business Association and will
update this if I hear back from them.
Saratoga Springs does already have an independently-owned bookstore, of course. Lyrical Ballad on Phila Street celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.
Update (6:30 p.m. Aug. 6):
Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, reached out to me today with a little more info on the chamber's efforts to woo Northshire to come to Saratoga. (He was out of town when I called last week)
"We first met with Chris last fall. He called us and we set
him up with a couple of local retailers - - Mare Barker and Linda Ambrosino - -
in our conference room. We’ve been in touch since then helping them to gather
data about our region’s economy as well as local attractions. We’ve introduced
him to many other local leaders since that time to help him understand the
local trends and opportunities. The best example is Phil Glotzbach at Skidmore
College. Besides a movie theater, the opportunity to attract a family-owned
bookstore, like Northshire’s, to Broadway responds to a significant need and I
believe will be a huge success. I know how difficult it is for any bookstore to
succeed but bringing together Saratoga Springs and Northshire is perhaps the
best combination to beat the odds that I can think of. That’s why when Chris
has called or emailed or stopped by we’ve done EVERYTHING we could to help him."