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Barnes & Noble Might Exit Forest Hills, Residents Already Fighting the Move

Crain's New York

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"Saving a chain store may seem ironic at first sight, but we already lost all of our small bookstores in the area." That's the plight that Michele Dore, co-founder of the civic association Our Communities, and residents of Forest Hills are facing with the impending closure of the neighborhood's Barnes & Noble, Crain's New York reports. With declining sales due to cheaper prices for e-books and Amazon purchases, there's a chance that the bookseller might not renew its lease here when it expires on January 31st.

"This is where locals have been going to for decades. It's simply a part of Forest Hills history," Dore continued. While Barnes & Noble has had a presence in Forest Hills since the 1980s, it's been the sole bookseller here since it moved to its current 22,000-square foot address in 1995.

Residents have been showing their support this past year with "buy-in" events that encourage purchases, and signing an online petition—it's currently got more than 5,500 signatures.

"As a public company, we can't afford to operate a store and lose money," Barnes & Noble vice president of development David Deason told Crain's. "We would like to extend the store at the rent we're paying or somewhere around it...We will stretch as far as we can go."

Luckily for Forest Hills, they've got landlord Muss Development on their side. "We are working on a long-term deal that benefits both parties," said Jeff Kay, Muss's chief operating office, who added that they've given their tenant rent reductions in the past. "Barnes & Noble has been with us for 20 years, and we'd very much like to keep them as a tenant. We understand its importance to the community and the shopping district."

Barnes & Noble

Austin St/70 Rd, Queens, NY 11375, USA