City Manager Leon Churchill announced during the regular meeting of the City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 17, that he had added a bookstore to the list of economic development goals for Tracy. He said the search was a response to comments his office had received from citizens and an online petition to keep Barnes & Noble, 3150 Naglee Road.
“You clearly have a demand,” Churchill said in an interview Wednesday, Dec. 18. “If you look at the sheer numbers, people are interested and want that venue.”
Churchill told council members Tuesday that Barnes & Noble’s business decision to leave the mall, reported by the Tracy Press on Aug. 23, was in response to sales figures at the store. Rouse Properties, owner of West Valley Mall, has already contracted with The Sports Authority Inc. to fill the space by the end of the first quarter of 2014.
The city manager said Wednesday that his staff would work with retail brokers to find smaller businesses.
“You probably have to have private booksellers, because chains don’t really exist anymore,” Churchill said.
He did caution that many private booksellers have ties to the communities they are in, so finding one willing to move to Tracy might prove a challenge.
“It’s a difficult search,” Churchill said. “If we had a bookseller in the community, they would already be here.”
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