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Florimda Ruiz, left, and Ivelise Reitsma, of Lexington, leave the Harrisonburg Barnes & Noble with books Friday. They said they visit the bookstore about once a month.

The Harrisonburg Barnes & Noble will be staying open instead of closing in January, according to an email from Alex Ortolani, the director of corporate communications for the book-seller chain.

The store, located at 289 Burgess Road, was slated to close due to the inability of the landlord, The Kroenke Group, and the bookstore to come to a lease agreement, Ortolani said.

At the time the news broke on Nov. 5 that Barnes & Noble would be closing in two months, the company said it was looking to find a new location in Harrisonburg.

“We never intended to be away from the area for long, and we are thrilled that we were able to work with the landlord to stay open,” said Vice President of Barnes & Noble Stores Frank Morabito, according to Ortolani’s email.

Ortolani said that the lease was “open” and that there is no definite end date for the new agreement.

The Kroenke Group declined to comment on the renewed lease.

It’s not the first time the store had been slated to close, yet remained open after a deal was hammered out.

In October 2014, Barnes & Noble announced the company was unable to come to a lease agreement with The Kroenke Group. A month later, the two parties reached an agreement on a lease and the store continued operation.

Area residents had rallied and signed a petition calling for the store to remain open, according to Daily News-Record archives.

One of those residents was Paula Putman, a retired Rockingham County Public Schools English teacher in Singers Glen.

“I’m pretty much a big Barnes & Noble fan,” she said. “I love it.”

When she found out that the store was slated to close back in 2014, she immediately sought something to do to keep the store open, she said.

Putman was excited to hear that the store will continue operating, and she said the Barnes & Noble is the basis for a good local community.

“I love coming in here on Sunday morning to pick up a paper and seeing all the other people who came in to get coffee and pick at papers,” she said.

Putman said she was preparing to sign another such petition last week after hearing the news of the potential closure.

“It’s just a part of our lives and we don’t want it to go away,” Putman said.

Barnes & Noble on Burgess Road 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.

Brick-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.

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 imunro@dnronline.com. Follow Ian on Twitter @IanMunroDNR

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