Cub Run Book Fair

Andrew Poma, left, and Addison Sheahan, both Cub Run Elementary School students at the time, browse at the school’s annual book fair at the Harrisonburg Barnes & Noble in February 2015.

The Harrisonburg Barnes & Noble is slated to close in January, according to a statement from Frank Morabito, vice president of stores for the bookstore chain.

“We have enjoyed serving our customers at this bookstore and have appreciated their business and loyalty,” he said Wednesday.

The closure comes with the ending of the lease of the space, said Alex Ortolani, the company’s director of communications, but Barnes & Noble is looking to maintain a presence in the area.

“We will continue to explore locations in the area that make sense for the local communities and our business,” Morabito said.

The store opened in 2003 as one of the original shops in Harrisonburg Crossing, located between East Market and Reservoir streets, at the location of the former Dunham-Bush site.

The Kroenke Group, which owns Harrisonburg Crossing, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s announcement is not the first time the store has been slated to close, according to Daily News-Record archives.

In October 2014, Barnes & Noble announced the company was unable to come to a lease agreement with The Kroenke Group.

But a month later, in November 2014, the two parties reached an agreement on the lease, and the store continued operation.

Bricks-and-mortar booksellers have been suffering for several years due to competition from internet vendors, such as web-monolith Amazon.

Barnes & Noble was bought by Elliot Management, a hedge fund group, for $638 million in June, according to The New York Times. Elliot Management also owns Waterstones, a large British book vending chain.

Despite the industry landscape, the company is going strong, Ortolani said.

“Barnes & Noble has opened 15 new stores around the country in recent years, and is reopening a newly renovated store in Virginia Beach, Virginia, next week,” he said.

Stocks for the company have steadily declined since 2016, but rose after the company’s sale in June. They have since plateaued around $6.50 per share.

Contact Ian Munro at 574-6278 or Follow Ian on Twitter @IanMunroDNR

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