Hours after Borders Inc. made it official–the business is dead, the liquidators are coming–things seemed almost normal at the downtown Borders, “Store Number One.” A light crowd milled about the new fiction table display at the front, while a U-M student scanned a shelf of DVDs on sale. Here and there, bits of overheard conversation floating among serious-faced customers revealed that the bad news had gotten to them, and inside them. “I remember years ago when it was still on State Street,” a silver-haired woman said to a companion. “It was such a wonderful store.” The lone clerk behind the cash register urged customers to consider buying “the wonderful Lindt chocolate” on the counter.
Local Borders employees were saddened but not surprised by the company’s demise; the Arborland store had already closed after the February bankruptcy filing, and they’d been prepared for the worst. The Lohr Rd. and downtown stores remain open temporarily, selling a mix of Borders back stock and an odd miscellany the liquidators acquired from other defunct retailers, but are likely to close this month.