Toronto independent mini-chain Book City announced Thursday afternoon it will be closing its flagship location in the Annex this spring after 38 years in business.
“The lease was up and we agonized over the decision, but sadly it didn’t make much economic sense to continue,” says general manager Ian Donker, son of founder Frans Donker.
Donker says a variety of factors led to the decision to close the Annex location, with a looming lease renewal prompting them to pull the trigger. “You name it and it has chipped away at the Annex location. It’s an evolving, changing neighbourhood like every other neighbourhood in Toronto,” he says. “Rent goes up every single year. Sales have slipped for a number of years, through no fault of the staff or our efforts.”
The Annex location employs “close to 14 staff members,” all of whom will be out of a job, according to Donker. Following the closure of other locations in the past, some staffers have been transferred, but Donker says it will not be possible this time. Among the staff being let go is manager John Snyder, who was the second hire at Book City in 1976.
Book City’s three other locations – on the Danforth, at Yonge and St. Clair, and in the Beach – will remain open, albeit with shorter winter hours still in effect. Donker says they have not ruled out the possibility of opening a new location elsewhere in the city should an opportunity present itself.
“[Our] other stores have been strong and maintained their sales, and sadly the Annex is one that slipped,” says Donker.