Booksellers at Laurelwood closing while Nordstrom Rack, Ulta Beauty plan to open in East Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- New businesses are coming as others are leaving in East Memphis.

It’s mixed feelings for shoppers as they’ll soon see a Nordstrom Rack and say goodbye to a decades old book store.

Readers were beginning to gather on Wednesday for the final chapter of the Booksellers at Laurelwood.

“It’s like a wake," said owner Neil Van Uum. "This is a wake.”

Van Uum said after 32 years, it’s no longer feasible to stay in business.

“This store’s too large," he said. "We were doing 30 percent more volume 15 years ago.”

Bookworms across town said they're sad to hear of the news.

“I’m devastated, honestly," said Anne Catherine Demere. "I don’t know if there’s anything that can be done. I wish there was.”

A petition’s going around to keep them open along with a GoFundMe page, but the owner said no amount of money can change things.

“You could throw all the money you want at this, but it wouldn’t be a good investment," said Van Uum.

As they turn a page, a new story’s being written steps away. Blue fences surround what will become a Nordstrom Rack on Poplar Avenue.

“I think it’s awesome we’re getting a Nordstrom," said Demere. "I think it’s something we need and I think a Nordstrom Rack is even greater because it’s more affordable.”

Seritage Growth Properties currently have Nordstrom Rack, Ulta Beauty and more shops and restaurants in the works in the space.

They anticipate the stores opening this fall.

“You hear about traveling to Memphis for these shops, it just makes me really hopeful about the future of our city," said Demere.

“There could be some better things ahead, so I always look positive towards the future,” said Van Uum.

The Booksellers at Laurelwood is closing up for good sometime next month. They’re beginning their liquidation sale this Friday.

Van Uum said he's hopeful there will be another bookstore in the heart of Memphis and he's working to try and make that happen.

It's not known yet what business will take over their lease.


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