It’s the end of a chapter for Barnes & Noble.
The Queens Courier has learned that the bookstore on Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows will be closing at the end of this year.
The store has been in the area since 2004 and residents and local leaders considered the place to be a community center complete with a coffee shop and children’s reading groups. The lease for the store ends on January 31, 2015, and a lease agreement between the owner and the store was scrapped.
“We had discussions with the property owner to try to structure a lease extension, but were not able to come to an agreement,” said David Deason, the vice president of development for Barnes & Noble. “We enjoyed serving our St. John’s/Fresh Meadows-area customers for the last 10 years and look forward to continuing to serve them at the nearby Bayside location.”
The store first opened in June 2004. Residents in the community lamented the news of the location’s upcoming closing.
“I love that store,” said Joan Piconni, a Fresh Meadows resident. “I was so happy when it opened, I was doing a dance.”
She continued, “When I first heard that it was going to close, I said, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to go through withdrawals without my Barnes & Noble.’ We need a bookstore in this area. We have many schools in this area and the students all go there for research and homework.”
Mike Sidell, a member of Community Board 8, said that it was particularly troublesome that the store was closing, because it wasn’t due to a lack of business but because the property owner and the store couldn’t agree on a lease extension.
He noted that politicians and activists in the Bronx “saved the day” when the Barnes & Noble there, which served as the only full-service bookstore in the borough, was on the brink of closing. The community, he said, pulled together and saved the store from being closed. And he suggested that people in Queens should do the same.
“I feel [the Fresh Meadows Barnes & Noble] was good for the community because people from the surrounding Queens areas use it too,” Sidell said.