A Tragic Way To Go Out Of Business

The Last Used Book Store in Downtown Worcester, Has a Devastating Fire

Although I somehow never made it to the Ben Franklin Bookstore in Worcester, MA, I have been in many shops like it and they are just all going out of business slowly but surely.

Worcester used to have many used book shops including a great one owned by Manasha Bilsey, Another Story Used Books, which he closed in 2003 because as he put it “the Internet has made used book stores not salable as a business model.”  Metropolitan areas have a hard time sustaining these types of businesses unless the proprietors of the store also own the building. This is often not the case, as buying the building is usually not a financially feasible option. Even owning the building is sometimes not enough to prevent the inevitable in what is becoming a vanishing occupation, proprietor -used book shop, open to the public.

What made the fate of the Ben Franklin Bookstore extra sad, was that the owner Donald Reid, had announced earlier in the year that he would have to close the shop when the building’s owners said he needed to vacate the premises so they could build apartments.  At 77, Reid felt he couldn’t move and start over. The stock of over 100,000 books were being put on sale at clearance prices through the summer, when fire struck the store Friday night May 27, 2011, damaging or destroying most of it. The store effectively was shut down three months prematurely. The store had two cats who perished in the blaze.

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