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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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This is a shame. I really like that store and always had a positive experience when I shopped there plus I enjoyed browsing and buying some of the cute gifty items there and it's non-tradtional style merchandising...

Posted on: 2009/3/1 2:48
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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Went in today. I was pleased to hear that they have delayed their closing until April. They are working on a few things to see if they can continue. I have my fingers crossed for them, because I think it's a great asset for JC.

Posted on: 2009/3/1 2:01
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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I am really and truly sorry to see them close. I had a feeling the store might not make it - it's just hard nowadays for bookstores to compete against Amazon, and I always wondered if JC had the critical mass of literate people needed to make a shop like this thrive. They were a great shop for children's gifts, especially if you were looking for something educational as opposed to a Bratz doll. The owner always went out of his way to help me find the right gift. The store is one of the few bright spots among downtown JC retailers.

Posted on: 2009/2/19 13:15
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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I just found this on another JC message board:

February 2009

To our customers and friends:

Imagine Atrium will be closing its doors in early spring. Since 2006, we have enjoyed serving the needs of local bibliophiles and critical thinkers, but as we approach the end of our lease in 2009, economic and neighborhood realities do not allow us to renew and continue with the business here in Jersey City.

We are enormously grateful to our loyal customers and to the individuals and groups who have supported the store from the beginning, particularly to those who have donated their time, energy, and efforts to helping us put on great programming in our mission to bring enlightening, interesting topics and speakers to this side of the Hudson.

The store will continue to be open to serve customers through the end of winter. The last day we will be accepting special orders for books, however, is Sunday, February 22.

The New York/New Jersey area still has several independent bookstores left who would be glad to quickly and courteously fulfill all of your book needs, many of whom can also deliver items for you to any destination in the world. We hope you will support these stores. To find independent bookstores in our area, please visit Indiebound.org.
If you have purchased a gift certificate within the last 60 days, please stop by to redeem it or for a full refund. If you have an older, unused gift certificate, please redeem it as soon as possible.

Beginning Sunday, March 1, we will be having a closeout sale where all merchandise will be 60% off or more. Please come out and take advantage of this spectacular sale where you will be sure to find something great at an amazing discount.

Again, thank you so much for your support and participation in this attempt to foster a sense of community and engage minds in our neighborhood. We encourage you to continue to choose to support local businesses in our community whenever possible, as it takes the combined efforts of individual decision makers, who are conscious about how they spend their time and money, in order for a neighborhood to improve and thrive.

Best wishes,
Your friends at Imagine Atrium

Posted on: 2009/2/19 1:09
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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Thanks Tex...will do!

Posted on: 2009/2/19 1:06
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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I passed by Imagine Atrium earlier and spoke to the owner. He said they will be closing, but we can expect them to be open through the end of March. They are open right now, so go by and support the store while you still can if you so desire.

Posted on: 2009/2/19 0:44
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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It's a cute store and the staff has always been friendly. It is just much easier for me to order books online. The store is so small that I assume it won't have the book I'm looking for. It's not only more convienent, but also less expensive for me to order online. I like to support local businesses, but not just for the sake of it. It just doesnt seem like a viable business.

Posted on: 2009/2/18 23:06
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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couldn't disagree more with those last two posts. everytime i went in there he was helpful - but also busy as he was the only person working there. i've never been a sole proprietor but i'd imagine it's hard as hell to do everything.

Posted on: 2009/2/18 18:32
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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Quote:

ECH wrote:
I'm not a bit surprised they have not survived. I went
to them and bought a $40. gift and was bummed by
their refusal to gift wrap it. The clerk was busy on
his cellphone and could not be bothered.
That was my first and last trip there.


Every time I've tried to give the place a chance, I've gotten the same feeling; As if they were annoyed that I was bothering them. Well, screw that.

Honestly, they never had a chance with the random junk they stocked.

Posted on: 2009/2/18 17:51
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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my realtor sent me the listing, so -- unfortunately -- i think the commercial space is up for rent. very sad.

Posted on: 2009/2/18 14:45
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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They were closed yesterday too - Sunday.

Posted on: 2009/2/17 0:14
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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Someone do an archive search - I could've sworn this came up once before, and it was a for rent sign for one of the apartments above. (Or check the realtor website?)

That said, if they aren't closing, all those who would be sad if they did close should get in there and buy something. Our neighborhood's great local businesses won't stay in business just because people like them, they need people to spend some money there.

Posted on: 2009/2/16 23:11
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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The store potentially closing is sad...I was just in there on Saturday to purchase a book & Garrod didn't mention anything about closing :( Maybe the for rent sign is for something else?

Posted on: 2009/2/16 22:03
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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I'm not a bit surprised they have not survived. I went
to them and bought a $40. gift and was bummed by
their refusal to gift wrap it. The clerk was busy on
his cellphone and could not be bothered.
That was my first and last trip there.

Posted on: 2009/2/16 21:35
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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A group of fifth graders huddled around laptop computers in the school library overseen by Ms. Rosalia and scanned allaboutexplorers.com, a Web site that, unbeknownst to the children, was intentionally peppered with false facts.

Ms. Rosalia, the school librarian at Public School 225, a combined elementary and middle school in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, urged caution. “Don’t answer your questions with the first piece of information that you find,” she warned.


Government-issue textbooks and public school teachers have had the monopoly on misinformation for years!

Posted on: 2009/2/16 17:26
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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This will be a great loss. I finally realized that if they didn't have the book I wanted, instead of going home and ordering through Amazon, etc., I could order through them, and it would come just as fast. I might not get the "discount" from Amazon although it was usually absorbed by Amazon's shipping and handling charges, but I got the book I needed and helped a local business. Perhaps I came to the realization too late to help them.

The unfortunate thing is that they are more than a bookstore, they have great gifts and serve as a community meeting place for the events they sponsored.

I am hoping for a miracle and that they don't go.

Posted on: 2009/2/16 17:01
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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N.Y. Times:

The Future of Reading

In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update

By MOTOKO RICH

It was the “aha!” moment that Stephanie Rosalia was hoping for.

A group of fifth graders huddled around laptop computers in the school library overseen by Ms. Rosalia and scanned allaboutexplorers.com, a Web site that, unbeknownst to the children, was intentionally peppered with false facts.

Ms. Rosalia, the school librarian at Public School 225, a combined elementary and middle school in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, urged caution. “Don’t answer your questions with the first piece of information that you find,” she warned.

Most of the students ignored her, as she knew they would. But Nozimakon Omonullaeva, 11, noticed something odd on a page about Christopher Columbus.

“It says the Indians enjoyed the cellphones and computers brought by Columbus!” Nozimakon exclaimed, pointing at the screen. “That’s wrong.”

It was an essential discovery in a lesson about the reliability — or lack thereof — of information on the Internet, one of many Ms. Rosalia teaches in her role as a new kind of school librarian.

Ms. Rosalia, 54, is part of a growing cadre of 21st-century multimedia specialists who help guide students through the digital ocean of information that confronts them on a daily basis. These new librarians believe that literacy includes, but also exceeds, books.

“The days of just reshelving a book are over,” said Ms. Rosalia, who came to P.S. 225 nearly six years ago after graduating at the top of her class at the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. “Now it is the information age, and that technology has brought out a whole new generation of practices.”

Some of these new librarians teach children how to develop PowerPoint presentations or create online videos. Others get students to use social networking sites to debate topics from history or comment on classmates’ creative writing. Yet as school librarians increasingly teach students crucial skills needed not only in school, but also on the job and in daily life, they are often the first casualties of school budget crunches.

Mesa, the largest school district in Arizona, began phasing out certified librarians from most of its schools last year. In Spokane, Wash., the school district cut back the hours of its librarians in 2007, prompting an outcry among local parents. More than 90 percent of American public schools have libraries, according to federal statistics, but less than two-thirds employ full-time certified librarians.

Lisa Layera Brunkan, a mother of three in Spokane, said she recognized the importance of the school librarian when her daughter, who was 7 at the time, started demonstrating a PowerPoint project. “She said, ‘The librarian taught me,’ ” Ms. Brunkan recalled. “I was just stunned.”

School librarians still fight the impression that they play a tangential role. Ms. Rosalia frequently has her lessons canceled at the last minute as classroom teachers scramble to fit in more standardized test preparation. Half a fifth-grade class left in the middle of a recent session on Web site evaluation because the children were performing in a talent show.

“You prepare things to proceed in a logical sequence and then here comes a monkey wrench,” Ms. Rosalia said. “We are teaching them how to think. But sometimes the Board of Ed seems to want them to learn how to fill in little bubbles.”

In New York City, Ms. Rosalia is a relative rarity. Only about one-third of the city’s public schools have certified librarians, and elementary schools are not required to have them at all.

Ms. Rosalia ran beauty salons with her husband and volunteered in her sons’ school libraries before pursuing her graduate degree. She was recruited to P.S. 225 by Joseph Montebello, the principal, a brother of a middle school librarian in Brooklyn.

In the school, just a block from a bustling stretch of Brighton Beach Avenue with its overflowing fruit stands and Russian bakeries, Ms. Rosalia faces special challenges. More than 40 percent of the students are recent immigrants. Language barriers force her to tailor her book collection to readers who may be in seventh grade but still read at a second-grade level.

Before Ms. Rosalia arrived, the library was staffed by a teacher with no training in library science. Some books in the collection still described Germany as two nations, and others referred to the Soviet Union as if it still existed.

Ms. Rosalia weeded out hundreds of titles. Working with just $6.25 per student per year — compared with a national median figure of $12.06 — she acquired volumes about hip-hop and magic and popular titles like “Oh Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty.” With the help of grants from the City Council and corporations, she bought an interactive white board and 29 laptops.

Ms. Rosalia introduced herself to her new colleagues as the “information literacy teacher” and invited teachers to collaborate on lessons. The early sessions focused on finding books and databases and on fundamental research skills.

Soon Ms. Rosalia progressed to teaching students how to ask more sophisticated questions during research projects, how to decode Internet addresses and how to assess the authors and biases of a Web site’s content.

Even teachers find that they learn from Ms. Rosalia. “I was aware that not everything on the Internet is believable,” said Joanna Messina, who began taking her fifth-grade classes to the library this year. “But I wouldn’t go as far as to evaluate the whole site or look at the authors.”

Combining new literacy with the old, Ms. Rosalia invites students to write book reviews that she posts in the library’s online catalog. She helped a math teacher design a class blog. She urges students to use electronic databases linked from the library’s home page.

Not all of Ms. Rosalia’s efforts involve technology. The license plate on her black BMW says “READ,” and she retains a traditional librarian’s passion for books.

During a lunch period earlier this month, Gagik Sargsyan, 13, slunk into the library and opened a laptop to research a social studies paper on the 1930s and 1940s.

“Have you looked at any books?” Ms. Rosalia asked.

A look of horror came over Gagik’s face. “No,” he said.

Ms. Rosalia, who has a bubbly manner, went to a shelf and returned with a stack of volumes on the Empire State Building, fashion in the 1930s and life during the Great Depression. Gagik recognized the Empire State Building as the place he spent his 13th birthday and started paging through the book.

At the end of every week, Ms. Rosalia opens the library for classes to come in solely to check out books. One Friday, she wore a T-shirt imprinted with the words “Don’t make me use my librarian voice.” Whirling from child to child, she swiftly pulled volumes off the shelves as third graders requested books on sharks and scary topics. By the end of one period, more than 30 students stood in line at the circulation desk.

Still, Ms. Rosalia understands the allure of the Internet. Speaking last fall to a class of a dozen seventh graders who recently immigrated from Russia, Georgia, China and Yemen, Ms. Rosalia struggled to communicate. “We have newspapers in all of your languages,” she said. She turned to the digital white board.

When she clicked on the home page of Izvestia, the Moscow-based newspaper, the Russians in the group cheered.

“Does anybody like books?” Ms. Rosalia asked. Several students stared blankly. The Russians, who spoke some English, shook their heads.

So Ms. Rosalia pulled up the home site for Teen People magazine, and Katsiaryna Dziatlouskaya, 13, immediately recognized a photograph of Cameron Diaz. Ms. Rosalia knew she had made a connection.

“You can read magazines, newspapers, pictures, computer programs, Web sites,” Ms. Rosalia said. “You can read anything you like to, but you have to read. Is that a deal?”

Posted on: 2009/2/16 16:37
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Re: Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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It's joining "sweet little bookstores" across the country.

Last week the OSCAR WILDE BOOKSTORE, a Village icon on Christopher Street, closed it's doors. Owner said the previous day there were TWO paying customers.

We live in a world where people are DE-learning how to read anything but TEXT messages of a dozen words or less.

Of course, with books running $30 apiece in an economic downturn the handwriting is on the wall.

Posted on: 2009/2/16 16:06
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Imagine Atrium - for rent sign?
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It looks as though the sweet little book store on Jersey Avenue didn't make it. Not surprised. It was a nice store but never had what I wanted.

Posted on: 2009/2/16 15:23
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Downtown Bookstore Imagine Atrium - Publishers Weekly Article - Can New Bookstores Survive Anywhere?
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Can New Bookstores Survive?
A mix of approaches yields mixed results

by Judith Rosen
Publishers Weekly
10/6/2008

Since 2006, there's been a miniboom in independent bookstore openings with more than 250 entering the market. Late last month, however, two of these bookstores closed: Storybook Lane Book Shoppe in San Carlos, Calif., and Under the Sycamore Tree in Grayslake, Ill. In a letter to the ABC listserv, the Storybook Lane founder, Karen Elmore, wrote, “These last two years have been a struggle, but moving in an upward direction until this current economy hit us hard. I have tried everything, but I think it's time to face the music and get out before I get in even more debt.”

Are these two closings an aberration or are they the tip of the iceberg at a time of economic turmoil? “We try to remain optimistic, but it's challenging,” said Donna Paz, who has trained would-be booksellers for 16 years. “I think people have some gut-level instincts that are wrong like, how hard can it be? It comes down to things like paying your payroll tax and what to do if your employee's kid gets sick. It's hard to keep all the balls in the air. Layer upon that the real estate boom that took rents really high.” Interviews with nine new booksellers found some doing well while others face more of a struggle, but all remain hopeful that their stores will pull through.

Some new owners are juggling like seasoned pros. “Business is doing really well,” said Peter Makin, cofounder of 1,200-sq.-ft. Brilliant Books! in the vacation community of Sutton's Bay, Mich. “My background was in marketing. To me the message you give out about your store is key,” he noted. When his store opened in mid-December 2007 without any shelves, Makin turned it into a marketing opportunity and composed a story for his customers about the Little Blue Store with No Shelves. The story is still available on the Web site (www.brilliant-books.net), even though Makin added shelves and a second storefront in the spring.

At year-old Comics & Classics, a 1,500-sq.-ft. combination comic store, bookstore and art gallery, sales have gone up every month, said Kimberly Jackson, who owns the store in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., with her husband, Percy. A former teacher, she educates area schools about using manga and comics in the classroom, which has paid off with school sales and whole families coming to the store to shop. “My [bookselling] philosophy is good stories and good art,” said Jackson, who stocks comics by local artists, graphic novels, literary fiction and science fiction and fantasy.

Jackson's not the only new bookseller to experiment with fusing different types of stores. Former stock brokers Sandi and Will Pearson mix new and rare at Pages, which opened this spring in Cave Creek, Ariz. They took the idea from Guy Bryant, owner of Bryant's Rare Books and Documents in Truckee, Calif., from whom they purchased much of their inventory of rare books, maps and documents. He told them that if he were to do it again, he would sell both. So far it's working for the Pearsons. “I don't think there are many sales that are rare only,” said Will. So far, they have survived the slow summer months and are looking forward to seeing how business picks up when the snowbirds arrive.

Sports and business writer David Magee, author of Playing to Win: Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, prefers the tried and true bookstore model. “I learned a long time ago, if you want to be successful, imitate the successful,” he said. When he and local public relations guru Albert Waterhouse opened Rock Point Books in Chattanooga, Tenn., in November 2006, they patterned it after Richard Howarth's Square Books in Oxford, Miss., with lots of events. Even so, Magee is finding today's market a challenge. “We planned to do $400,000 the first year, and we did. Right now, we're tracking flat from the first year. This year has shown me a mere presence and an event isn't enough,” he said. Taking another page from Square Books, he and Waterhouse are looking into starting a live radio broadcast from the store, à la Square Book Thacker Mountain Radio.

Because of the economy, this has also been a tough year for Garrard Bradley, owner of 800-sq.-ft. Imagine Atrium in Jersey City, N.J., which opened in 2006. Initially, Bradley wanted to start a knowledge store. When he realized that wasn't practical, he turned it into a bookstore. Because of its size, Bradley is finding it hard to do events. “It's pretty much a one-man show,” he said. “I coordinate events, run the store and pay the bills. That's the catch-22 when you're starting a business. You don't have the staff you need.” To attract customers, he's added a niche, French books for kids. He is also an active blogger on www.imagineatrium.com.

Flintridge Bookstore and Coffee House in La Cañada, Calif., has significantly deeper pockets and more space than Imagine Atrium. The owners are currently renting space, and although the year-old store is not yet in the black, owners Peter Wannier, a retired professor of astrophysics at Caltech, and his wife, Lenora, a former librarian, are moving forward with plans to build a one-story 6,400-sq.-ft. bookstore with underground parking and a clock tower. “Overall, it's working as expected,” said Peter. “Our sales aren't quite what we wanted, but we're not collapsing. Our children's section is one of our shining stars.” Other strong areas include fiction, graphic novels and architecture.


Sometimes experience can make all the difference. It has certainly helped two-year-old Pearl Street Books in Ellensburg, Wash., weather the ups and downs of today's economy better than some of its neighbors in the community's historic downtown, which have closed. Owner Glenna Martin previously worked at A Book for All Seasons in Leavenworth, Wash., and Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane before opening her first bookstore, Periwinkle Station in Florence, Ore. Pearl Street does best with general fiction, regional and children's.

Wyn Morris, owner of the Morris Book Shop in Lexington, Ky., and his partner, Hap Houlihan, have also benefited from their years at Joseph-Beth Booksellers and from those who remember the original Morris Book Shop, which closed in 1978. In the four months since it opened, the store has consistently hit its break-even of $500 a day. Houlihan attributes that to a strong regional section. In addition, he and Morris are trying to educate customers about the real meaning of “selection.” “We're trying to take back the word 'selection,' ” he said. “It's used as a synonym for inventory. For us, selecting is an active verb.”

Red Fox Books in Glens Falls, N.Y., is very familiar with selection, given that the two-year-old store is already running out of space. “We are outgrowing the store at the moment. That's one of the biggest challenges,” said Naftali Rottenstreich, who co-owns the 1,500-sq.-ft. store with his wife, Susan Fox. “We've had a very strong summer. This was an area that had been clamoring for a bookstore.” So far they're doing best with children's, fiction, biography, local titles and self-help. “Nonbook items don't sell as well for us as books,” said Fox, who has experimented with some used books as well.

In the long-term, whether experience, distinctive inventory, new ways of merchandising or deep pockets will be enough for the latest crop of bookstores to weather the all-important first five years of business is anyone's guess. “In retail,” said Pearl Street's Martin, “you hate to say things are good. You don't want to jinx it.” But if her store's increases of 20% in July and 30% in August are any indication, business is moving in the right direction.

Posted on: 2008/10/8 13:02
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