From The Idaho Statesman:
The signs went up on Wednesday at Trip Taylor Booksellers, announcing the end of yet another small business in Boise’s rapidly changing Downtown: “The Sinking Ship Sale! 75% off EVERYTHING.”
Just days earlier, a letter from the landlord was hand-delivered to the crowded shop, informing Henry Taylor III, aka Trip, that he must empty every crammed shelf, take down the poster from Frank Church’s 1968 U.S. Senate campaign, unplug the aging record player and close the doors by March 31.
“I spent a lot of time last year, mainly trying to keep it going, perhaps partnering with somebody or finding a buyer,” Taylor said Thursday afternoon, as customers streamed in, stunned, saddened and hunting for bargains. “There was a lot of interest, but none of it was nearly serious enough to actually make it happen.”
The 18-year-old cultural institution succumbed to a troubling Boise trend.
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As Idaho’s center of population, politics and commerce grows, many beloved small businesses have shut their doors, victims of rising rents, changing tastes, increasing property values and burgeoning development.
“Another iconic Boise landmark is toppling,” said David Klinger, who has fought to save other local institutions. “They’re falling fast — Smoky Davis, several Downtown restaurants and breakfast places … and now our town’s primary used bookshop.
“The reasons for closure are many,” Klinger said, “but one of the most common threads or explanations is rising commercial rents and the scarcity of places to move for small businesses that still want to remain in business. So they’re disappearing.”
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Taylor said it’s possible the store could stay open until the middle of April. Then he will continue selling books online through AbeBooks.com and doing some writing. Beyond that, the future is unclear.
“It’s still just been too hard in general,” Taylor said. He said he’s been breaking even and not much more. “Last summer was really quite busy. I think we had so many people on the road; there were people here for the eclipse. I thought, ‘Well, maybe if it continues like this.’ But of course it didn’t into the fall. Everything just got harder again.
“I’ve just basically been here all the time lately,” he said. “At least I’ll have a little bit more freedom and space in my life. Other people always see me as the bookseller, but I like to think I have other possible contributions to make.”
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For many years, three very different bookstores have lived in harmony in Downtown Boise. Trip Taylor sells a wide collection of finer used tomes and is best known for literature, philosophy and art books. Rainbow Books at 1310 W. State St. offers a more mass-market selection. The Rediscovered Bookshop at 180 N. 8th St. sells mostly new books and recent releases.
“I’m heartbroken,” said Bruce DeLaney, who owns Rediscovered with his wife, Laura, and shops regularly at Trip Taylor. “We send people back and forth between our stores. It’s a loss for the reading community. We will miss having his store there.”
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Asked where he’d shop once Trip Taylor Booksellers shuts its doors, McCarthy paused.
“Rainbow,” he said. “I can usually dig up something there, but they don’t have the good stuff. Not Barnes & Noble.”
Link to the rest at The Idaho Statesman and thanks to Brandt for the tip.