Is Borders Fleeing The South For Whiter Shores?

Borders in Matteson
The shadows are long as the sun sets Saturday over Borders Books in Matteson, IL. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Update: Monday, Feb. 21, 10:41 a.m. with information from Borders Corporate office.

Matteson, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The sun is setting over Borders in Matteson. And we have to ask, "Why?"

We want the store to remain open, after all.

Park Forest’s Director of Economic Development and Planning Hildy Kingma was a key figure in working to locate the store in Matteson, when she worked for the Village of Matteson.

And now the store will close, only a few years after Barack Obama, at the time running for a seat in the United States Senate, sat quietly in the parking lot, waiting for Green Day to begin. Mayor John Ostenburg of the Village of Park Forest stopped to chat with him as he sat in his car, waiting. Few others even noticed him.

At the time, Borders in Matteson was one of the chains busiest stores.

At eNews Park Forest, we have to ask, and have a call in to the Borders media office, why is Borders only closing stores in the Chicagoland’s racially-divere South Suburbs?


The sun sets over Borders, the shadows are long.

"EVERYTHING MUST GO" said the signs at Borders in Matteson. The parking lot was packed Saturday. Customers lined up to the back of the store waiting to buy items on sale.

Is this corporate red-lining? Is Borders looking for whiter shores as it files Chapter 11? Given the difficulty the South Suburbs have had historically wooing big name businesses, we have to ask. The rich diversity in the South Suburbs is not perceived as a blessing by all.

A representative from Borders assures ENEWSPF the decisions on which stores to close are entirely financial.

"These 200 stores are underperforming," a Borders media representative said. "Collectively these 200 stores are costing the company $2 million a week to operate."

The company has made information public for the customers, vendors and the media at BordersReorganization.com:

In light of the ongoing impact of the difficult economy of the past few years, and the rapidly changing retailing environment for books and related products, it is essential that Borders restructure itself to reposition its business to be viable and successful over the long term.

To that end, we have determined the best route to undertake the necessary reorganization of our business is through the filing of a petition for reorganizational relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. 

Please be assured that during this reorganization period:

  • Borders stores are open for business. We will continue to provide our customers with a vast assortment of books in a warm and relaxing environment – and we intend to build on this. Our stores will continue to be places where families can gather to enjoy enriching events including author readings and signings, book clubs as well as kids storytime and parties.
  • Borders.com is operating as usual. We are fulfilling online orders as customers choose from among more than two million books, music, movies as well as other entertainment items.
  • Our Borders Rewards programs, including Borders Rewards Plus, remain in effect. Customers can continue to earn and redeem their Rewards in stores and on Borders.com and they’ll also continue receiving coupons. As always, we are honoring gift cards, which can be redeemed in stores and online at Borders.com.
  • Borders will continue to maintain its strong national presence. Our nationwide network of stores is a key foundation of the Borders brand. Borders, however, will be closing underperforming stores within our network over the next several weeks. Should your local store be affected, please visit Borders.com to find another Borders store near you, or to purchase our vast selection of books and other merchandise on-line.

Through this process, we intend to put in place a sound financial structure, enhance Borders’ technology to better benefit you, our customers and introduce new and exciting products related to our book offerings – all while providing you with great customer service