WordsWorth Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a Harvard Square institution, will be closing its doors for good this Saturday, October 30, after having failed to find an investor to help keep the bankrupt store afloat, as reported by the Boston Globe. The WordsWorth closing adds to the list of recent closures in Harvard Square -- which includes retailers Abercrombie & Fitch, Brine's Sporting Goods, Tweeter (an electronics store), and a Chili's restaurant.
Late last week, WordsWorth placed a sign in its window announcing that it would be selling its inventory, and, on Tuesday, October 26, the store's books were discounted by 50 percent, the Globe article noted. Donna Friedman, who founded WordsWorth with her husband, Hillel Stavis in 1975, told the Globe that she and her husband plan to throw all of their energy into their other store, Curious George Goes to WordsWorth, and change its name to Curious George and Friends.
As reported previously in BTW, Bandicoot Corp., the company that owns WordsWorth Books and Curious George, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 12. At the time, Stavis said that he was seeking an investor and wanted to keep the store open.
However, WordsWorth Books had been losing money for two years, Stavis told the Boston Globe in September. According to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston, the store has $1.5 million in debt and $1 million in inventory and assets. The filing was made under the corporate name for both stores, Bandicoot Corp., according to the Globe.
As for the reasons for the bookstore's downturn, Stavis pointed to bricks-and-mortar and online chain stores. "Too much Amazon, too much big box bookstores," he told BTW in a September interview. Stavis reported that Curious George is "healthy and viable and showing signs of getting even better."
This month, the bankruptcy court judge approved a reorganization plan for Bandicoot that calls for Curious George to focus exclusively on books and toys, the Globe reported. Stavis also told the Globe that they are looking for outside investor so they can expand Curious George "in a market niche where they face less competition from Internet retailers," and "hopes that Bandicoot can emerge from bankruptcy court protection by January 1."