The Elk Grove outpost of bookstore will remain open "for the foreseeable future" a company spokesperson said Thursday, squelching rumors floating around town for the last couple weeks that the store was slated for closure.
The store's ultimate fate, however, will likely depend on the outcome of the bookstore chain's bankruptcy proceedings, including a planned auction of the company.
Borders already shuttered 226 stores as part of a reorganization earlier this year. This month, the company revealed it had failed to negotiate extensions on leases for dozens more, including the one on Laguna Blvd in Elk Grove—meaning it would be required under the terms of its bankruptcy to start closing them, even though many were profitable.
The news dismayed bibliophiles in Elk Grove, where Borders is the only mainstream bookstore ( and offer religious fare).
"That would really suck," said Emmanuel Evans, 19, a comic-book aficionado who says he's burned through at least 50 books while crouching in the store's cozy aisles.
But creditors granted Borders a last-minute reprieve this week, allowing them to keep the stores open while they negotiate with potential buyers for the company.
"A lot of the stores on that list were our most profitable stores, so it wouldn't have been a good thing had we been forced to close them," said Borders spokesperson Mary Davis. She said the company expects to set up an auction for its assets with a pre-selected buyer, known as a "stalking horse bid," by July 1.
Sales at brick-and-mortar bookstores have fallen nationwide as consumers turn to ordering books on Amazon.com or downloading them to their Kindles and iPads. But in suburban areas like Elk Grove, bookstores aren't just about buying books; they can also be among the few public gathering places for locals.
On a recent afternoon, the cafe at Borders Elk Grove was filled with retirees sipping cool drinks, tutors meeting with clients, and students hitting the books.
While Davis wouldn't comment on sales at individual stores, store employees said business was brisk.
"In the mornings, it's been pretty packed," said Desiree Chavez, who was helping customers at the front counter. "In the summer it gets busier."
Still, not everyone comes to buy.
"I just come in here to have coffee and say hi to my friends," said John Vega, 73, a former Marine and amateur novelist who lives in Elk Grove. "I wouldn't buy a book here."
"People come in and they take a $25 book, read the whole thing and put it back on the shelf," he said.