In a day and age of Amazon, Borders, Wal-Mart, Kindles and other competition for your book-buying dollar, the intrepid souls at Left Bank Books have opened their new store downtown, at 10th and Locust.
While the economy and the market for book retailers are both tough, fortunately, LoftWorks' Craig Heller is providing Left Bank's 6,000 sf space rent free for three years, giving the store time to achieve profitability. I had a chance to check out the store on its first day in business, and it is fantastic. The space is loft-like, with huge windows. Employees were still hard at work stocking the shelves, so I look forward to stopping back in next week, when the store is fully up and running.
From the St. Louis Beacon:
Heller...hopes the addition of a book store will add to the fledgling neighborhood's "walkable" atmosphere. He said he likes the fact that the shop will be an independent one, too, he said, rather than a chain.
"When you walk in, you're going to know the people behind the counter, and they're going to know you," Heller said. "You don't get that in a 30,000-square-foot store."
This is an extremely important - and exciting - development for downtown. A bookstore is something the downtown retail scene has been sorely lacking since the Waldenbooks in St. Louis Centre and the B. Dalton in Union Station both shuttered.
Now that we have our bookstore, what's next? What other retailers does downtown need at this point? Personally, I'm hoping for a Walgreen's. Boring, yes, but needed.