Gladin Scott announced Maple Street Book Shop will remain open through spring.
Maple Street Book Shop
owner Gladin Scott had planned to hold a clearance sale after Christmas, but it's taken on a new purpose. In early October, Scott announced the bookshop would close
at the end of the year. But that news spurred a wave of support that has enabled him to keep the store open.
"It started as a wake, but it turned into a celebration," Scott says.
Scott announced Sunday the store would remain open and held the sale as a thank you to customers. The store is using proceeds to buy new inventory, ordering new releases and scheduling events for coming months, he says.
Maple Street Book Shop was opened in 1964 by Mary Kellogg and Rhoda Kellogg Norman, and Scott is one of its longtime customers.
"I've been a customer of Maple Street since I was in high school," Scott says. "I didn't want to give it up if I didn't have to."
Scott became a manager at the store in 2008 and bought the business in 2013.
When Scott bought Maple Street, it had four locations, including Mid-City and Bywater, and he consolidated the business to keep it going. He returned books to publishers, sold off inventory and donated 40 cases of books to Bridge House, he says. Some employees at the three closed locations were laid off and some employees at the Maple Street location switched to part time hours.
"It was two and a half years of crisis management," he says.
A slow summer and early fall this year led him to decide to close the business, he says.
But following the announcement of the closing plans, business doubled," he says.
"It gave me hope that we can operate on a break-even level," Scott says. "The landlord was willing to work with us on a month-to-month lease. We'll see if we can maintain the increase in business."
Scott says he'll have to re-evaluate how the business is doing in March and April.
"We're hopeful but I don't want to say we're out of the woods yet," he says. "We're grateful for the support."
In October, Scott noted that the Internet changed the way people bought books, which hurt his store.
He says the store has done many things that have worked well, including offering both new and used books side-by-side on shelves and maintaining a strong children's books section. He says he'd like to address some issues that were put off, such as updating the business' website.
Scott credits local support for the recovery.
"People in New Orleans hate to lose an iconic business or a building," he says. "They want to see things that are meaningful to them stay."