Vancouver’s arts community is grieving the loss of another beloved institution, this time in the form of independent retailer Book Warehouse.
The local chain of bookstores announced Thursday all its locations will be closing in the next few months.
But unlike the untimely demise of the Playhouse Theatre last week, Book Warehouse founder Sharman King says he’s going out on a high.
“It’s just time, our leases are up. Commercially, it just makes sense for us to go.” said King.
“It has nothing to do with our financial situation. It’s a good business, it’s been a lot of fun for 32 years and although the book business is changing, I’d say it hasn’t affected us at all.”
King has been receiving a lot of support from Vancouver’s mourning cultural scene in the wake of the announcement and says the closure a bittersweet process.
“We are an integral part of the arts community,” he said. “We’re involved with and support so many musicians and artists. We’ve been getting a lot of feedback and comments, which have been universally positive.”
All Book Warehouse locations are holding closing-out sales, and King says there’s plenty of time for goodbyes.
“We’ll still be around for a couple of months so it’s not like we’re just running away.”
And if a buyer is interested in purchasing Book Warehouse, nobody would be happier than King. He adds, “I personally think it would be a good buy for somebody as we have such a strong brand in Vancouver, but right now, I can’t really make that happen.”
King plans on using all the extra free time to hone his trombone skills, but will never forget a lifetime of selling literature. “We knew nothing about the book business before we went into it, so I can’t imagine it turning out any better than it did.”