Crystal Lake’s Barnes & Noble bookstore will close and be replaced with a Binny’s Beverage Depot, a city official said.
Barnes & Noble, 5380 Route 14, is McHenry County’s largest book and magazine store. The city hopes to find a smaller location to house a scaled-down Barnes & Noble after it closes, Economic Development Manager Heather Maieritsch said.
“The city’s been working with Barnes & Noble to find another location in Crystal Lake,” Maieritsch said.
A Barnes & Noble representative was not available for comment Monday.
Maieritsch said it’s not clear when the bookstore – which houses a café, multimedia center and children’s corner – will close.
“The city really enjoys having Barnes & Noble in the community, and we’d like to keep them in the community,” she said.
Maieritsch said the retailer is experimenting with smaller stores across that nation that have “a different feel and experience, but still have what they’re known for: the ability to buy books.”
In a 2018 letter to shareholders, Barnes & Nobles founder and chairman Leonard Riggio said the company plans to “reimagine our bookstores in the form of a smaller footprint” to better serve customers and make up for the decline in retail traffic.
Crystal Lake resident Don Norton was at the Barnes & Noble on Monday night. Norton said he believes the store makes money and is a valuable asset to the city.
“This store makes a lot of money; I don’t know why they’re closing,” Norton said, adding that he learned of the store closing on the “viral” Northwest Herald social media posts Monday. “I think people still like to buy books. They like to hold them in their hands and look at them before they buy them.”
Norton said there’s numerous liquor stores and a dearth of quality bookstores.
“There’s already a couple of liquor stores in town,” he said, adding that the nearby Mariano’s has an extensive liquor selection for people who choose to avoid gas stations. “It’s very sad.”
He said his daughter, who works at the establishment, found out about the impending closing Monday.
Still, Maieritsch said the city is excited for another retailer to move into the large building. Binny’s is expected to open sometime this year, according to city documents.
“We’re excited that Binny’s is going to enter the market,” she said. “It’s a new retailer. It’s a national liquor store with beer, wine, spirits, cigars. ... Anytime you’re fortunate enough to draw a new retailer in to avoid having a vacant building is wonderful.”
The City Council will vote on whether to give Binny’s a liquor license at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St.
In addition to package sales, the retailer plans to host events with the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises, according to city documents.
McHenry County already is home to two Binny’s: one in the city of McHenry, 4610 W. Elm St., and one in the village of Algonquin, 844 S. Randall Road.