It's rare to report the expansion of a new bookstore these days, but here is the rare case of an independent retailer failing to reach a lease renewal agreement and being replaced not by a banal bank or chain store, but by a different independent business who has survived its industry being clobbered by corporate chain store competition over the past couple of decades. Antique store Olde Good Things has left its Upper West Side store at 450 Columbus Avenue after choosing not to renew its longtime lease. DNAinfo reports that it will be replaced by Book Culture, the Morningside Heights-based bookstore familiar to the Columbia University community as well as book consumers from all over the city who have eschewed Amazon and Barnes & Noble in search of the increasingly rare charms and services of the independent book seller. It is not yet clear whether or not this is an additional store for the micro-chain or a relocation of one of its current locations, but it does represent a new neighborhood for the store —one that appears to have resigned itself to having just the one Barnes & Noble on Broadway as its main bookstore. The affluent enclave should, however be fertile ground for the store as an area most likely to offer a sufficient customer base which has yet to embrace the Kindle.
Book Culture will arrive under a bit of a cloud, however, having caused something of a stir uptown earlier this year when it dismissed five workers amidst the organization of a new union for the store. Picketing ensued which was unseemly for a store devoted to representing broad points of view in its offerings. Since then, the store's owners have promised to support the new union if it is recognized by the National Labor Relations board, and have dismissed the supervisors who "not willing to continue to perform the role of supervisors within the new environment of having the unionized work force." We shall see if the scandal follows Book Culture to its new location. No opening date has been announced for the new bookstore.