DULUTH — Few are more upset by the planned closure of Barnes & Noble on Pleasant Hill Road than 10-year-old Wesley Gemeinhardt.
The young man is both “sad and mad” that his favorite bookstore is closing. “It’s the only place that has my ‘39 Clues’ books,” Gemeinhardt said. “I won’t be able to find them at any other stores.”
While clutching two copies of the children’s adventure novels on Wednesday, he and his mom, Amber Abrams, stood outside the store watching customers walk in and out the doors.
Representatives of the book chain confirmed Wednesday that the location’s final day will be June 30, ending 15 years of operation at the 2205 Pleasant Hill Road location.
David Deason, vice president of development, said the lease for the store is expiring.
“There are no other B&N stores closing in the Atlanta market at this time,” Deason said. “We have 14 other Atlanta metro locations which will continue to serve our valued customers and hope to continue to serve our Duluth customers in one of these locations.”
Deason declined to provide the number of people employed at the local business but said that “booksellers from the Duluth store have been given the opportunity to interview at nearby locations and fill open positions there.”
A manager at the store also declined to give any more information.
Joe Allen, director of the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District, said Wednesday that it came down to “negotiations with the owners about the lease based on what we were told.”
“We always hate to see a store close like that, but we’ve also had many new retailers coming into the market. It’s all part of the ebb and flow,” Allen said.
He added that he was surprised by the decision to close the local business, because “it’s always been full of people anytime I’ve ever been there ... but Barnes & Noble has certainly struggled in recent years.”
The Gwinnett Place CID aims to enhance the economic vitality of Gwinnett’s central business district by strengthening the area’s role as the center of commercial activity.
Christine Mills of Gwinnett County hopes that employees at the business do find jobs. “They’re all very nice and have always been helpful when I go in,” said Mills, standing outside the store on Wednesday. “It’s a shame.”
Abrams agreed, calling the situation “tragic.”
Her son, Wesley, said he’ll miss walking the aisles of the local bookstore: “It was a good place, and a good place to find books. It’s too bad it’s closing.”