Books-A-Million will close its Blacksburg store at the First & Main shopping center in two weeks.
The closure is a big blow to First & Main, which has struggled to attract and keep retailers since it opened in 2008. You might remember that Walmart wanted to build there, but Blacksburg won a court battle to keep it out. A movie theater was also part of the plans, but it was never built.
Books-A-Million is the largest tenant at the shopping center, with nearly 16,000 square-feet. When it’s gone, 40 percent of the shopping center’s 130,000 square-feet will be vacant.
My calls to the Birmingham, Ala. book seller weren’t returned Monday, so it’s unclear why the store is closing. Mark Shrader, co-owner of Bull & Bones Brewhaus and Grill at First & Main, said the bookstore didn’t appear to attract much business. A look at the book company’s financials shows that it lost $2.9 million on sales of $106.4 million during the 13 weeks that ended July 30.
In other news about the shopping center, a high-end children’s clothing store has signed a lease for a 1,200 square-foot store next to Coldwater Creek, according to Sheryl Simeck, a spokeswoman for The Rappaport Companies. Wells Fargo hired Rappaport (they also own and manage Towers Shopping Center in Roanoke) to manage and lease the property when the bank took it over in November.