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Albion bookstore plans to close April 30 after 5 ½ years

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Carolyn Ricker announced today she plans to close Bindings Bookstore on April 30 after 5 ½ years of business. She is pictured today in the store at 28 West Bank St.

ALBION – The owner of Bindings Bookstore announced today she plans to close the bookstore on April 30 after 5 ½ years. Carolyn Ricker said there is a chance a new owner may step forward in the next few days.

She said the bookstore has been profitable, but it wasn’t meeting her goal for a business after 5-plus years.

“It holds its own,” she said this afternoon at the store. “It’s not failing, it’s just hasn’t been what I hoped for my family.”

Ricker and her husband Jason have two teen-age children. Mrs. Ricker opened the store following a community survey for businesses in Albion. Many people who filled out the survey about seven years ago stated they wanted to see a bookstore in Albion.

Her top sellers were children’s books and items about local history. Ricker said she appreciated a faithful clientele, but she and other downtown businesses need more customers.

File photo – Carolyn Ricker dressed as Where’s Waldo in the Strawberry Festival Parade in June 2014 to promote a contest in Albion. She is pictured Jeffrey Brown (strawberry) and his brother Harrison (the bear).

She thinks about the sign in the storefront window of a Main Street building owned by Adam Johnson, who urges people to “Be part of the solution.”

Ricker said people don’t need to open a business but if they can be part of a thriving downtown with locally owned stores by spending money with those merchants.

Ricker has been battling Big Box stores and on-line companies such as Amazon. She said she built up a loyal customer base by catering to their needs, and offering to make deliveries.

Ricker also has been active with the Albion Merchants Association, serving as the group’s president and helping to run many events, such as a wine-tasting, holiday shopping tours, stained-glass window tour, Small Business Saturday, and other community efforts such as Where’s Waldo, which offered coupons for people who visited local businesses. Ricker also ran a monthly book club, and sponsored the “Tale for Three Counties” community reading project.

“She’s been very supportive of the businesses,” said Lisa Stratton, owner of the Hazy Jade Gift Shop.

Stratton stopped by Bindings today after Ricker announced the store’s closing on Facebook and to customers in an email. Stratton said the two are “Business Besties” who often team on projects and for moral support.

Bindings will have a sale with everything 30 percent off in its final week.