Owner Heidi Hallet couldn’t hold back the tears in the office of Frog Hollow yesterday.
After 25 years in business, the independent Halifax bookstore will be closing its doors on Aug. 22.
“It has been by far the most rewarding job I have ever had,” Hallet said after saying how much she will miss her faithful customers.
The door chimes were jingling as faithful customers poured into the store after hearing the news. But the store's devoted customers weren’t enough to compete with online markets, big box stores, discount retailers, and grocery stores.
Hallet, the bookstore’s owner for the past three and a half years, said her rent has been continuously rising and her sales have dropped by half over the past six years.
Frog Hollow moved from Park Lane Mall to nearby Brenton Street in June, where Hallet said there was a noticeable increase in traffic and sales, but not enough to keep the store open.
She said they were almost shut down in February.
“They were going to lock us out if we couldn’t cough up two months rent,” she said. “So we sent the call out to the public that we were in trouble and customers came to our rescue.”
After catching the news on the radio, Cathy Karpenko, an occasional customer of Frog Hollow, rushed over to pay her respects to the closing book store.
“I hate that small bookstores are closing,” Karpenko said after picking up a book marked 40 per cent off. “These stores expose writers that do not normally receive exposure.”
Hallet agreed that the future of independent bookstores is foggy.
“Independent bookstores are an endangered species,” she said. “People need to start realizing the value of local independent business and the choice that they’re going to miss out on when they’re gone.”