Monday, January 14, 2013

Black Forest Books & Toys to close

Citing sluggish sales, Black Forest Books & Toys is closing this month after 34 years in Charlotte.

"The economy has just not been good for us," co-owner Pat Siegfried said Monday. "We've had some wonderful, loyal customers, just not enough."

Though it also sells toys, the store is considered one of the nation's oldest continually operating children's bookstores. It opened in 1978, run by Louise Sanford and her mother, Fannie Blackwelder, and operated for years on Cherokee Road in Myers Park/Eastover.

 Pat Siegfried and June Hargrove bought the store in 2008, weeks before the height of the recession. Both are former librarians who delighted in matching children with just the right picture book or educational toy. Siegfried served for 14 years as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library's youth services director.

In 2011, they relocated to a purple house at 1942 Seventh St. in Elizabeth. The move more than doubled their retail space, and they hoped it would increase sales. But a weak economy, coupled with competition from online sellers and e-readers, proved too much to overcome, Siegfried said.

All store items are now at least 30 percent off. Siegfried encouraged anyone with a gift certificate to use it now. The store's last day will be between Jan. 23 and 26, she said.


Ettolrahc said...

Please do not notice the decay in values, or any real understanding of things, coupled with a lack of courtesy, from our society,

We are just undergoing some reconstruction, as we create a nation of people who have to feel good about things without any real effort.

Anonymous said...

What a shame. Our children loved this store. Unfortunately, not enough people are willing to pay a little extra in order to get great service and suggestions in a warm and friendly setting.

Anonymous said...

What a shame. I hate to hear about small businesses going out of business.

Anonymous said...

What is the rent of the store. It is losing money, or it just not worth the effort. Would there be any interest in selling it with the owner maintaing the inventory?

Would you stay on an run it if sold?

Anonymous said...

Per their website...

"Our website is setup so you can see some of the books & toys we have in the store, but it’s not meant for live checkout. It also only shows a small portion of what we carry in the store! Please contact us if you would like to make a purchase."

Retail book/toy store with no e-commerce? Hard to be successful with that model in 2013.

You wonder why they struggle

Anonymous said...

So sad to hear about! Wonderful and knowledgeable staff,great space and in the neighborhood. We will miss you!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear this. I've lived here my whole live and never heard of this store. Maybe it could've worked with more promotion.

Ettolrahc said...

Love the comment where this book store did not have a computer handling customer service and that person saw it as a negative.

Your call is very important to us, just not enough to pay enough people to answer your questions, so listen to our complete menu before you are transferred over and over again.

Sorry the world is not yet fed up with lack of customer service yet, but then hey maybe we deserve it.

Anonymous said...

This is sad news for me.... I have been involved with the Black Forest since its first day....I used to purchase for my own children, now my grandchildren. As a teacher, I always went there for the very best. Where will we all go now? While there are other toyshops in Charlotte, where are the children's bookshops comparable to the Black Forest?