Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Books in the Barrio revisited

I missed this story while in Houston, but think it's still worthy of pointing out after the fact. Hard to believe that it was just a year ago that I wrote about the new Waldenbooks opening in south San Antonio, but a year it's been since the Books in the Barrio project bore fruit. And wow, what do you know--the people in south San Antonio are buying books now that they have a bookstore!
For more than six years, South Side residents fought to get a bookstore so they wouldn't have to travel to the North Side for reading material.

Last June, their hard work paid off when Waldenbooks moved into 3,000 square feet of space at South Park Mall. And during the store's first anniversary celebration Thursday, a Waldenbooks official said sales have exceeded projections by more than 21 percent.

"A year later, this has been a great success," said Lidia Castaneda, district manager of Borders Group, which owns Waldenbooks. "We can tell others this has been a profitable endeavor. It's a shame we don't have more (bookstores)."

Castaneda said the company hasn't given up on the South Side and could plan a freestanding Borders a year or so from now.

That just goes to show that if stores pay attention to their customer base rather than faulty "common knowledge" they can build up successful businesses. Who cares if the majority of people in south San Antonio are Hispanic, folks who supposedly don't like to read? A quarter of a million potential customers are still a quarter of a million potential customers. There's a tremendous literary heritage in Latin America, and that extends beyond Cervantes and Marquez. With talk of a full-blown Borders superstore floating around now, it appears that the Borders group has finally figured that out.

Now Playing: Various artists Dr. Demento 20th Anniversary Collection

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