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Plaza Midwood bookstore in search of new home after lease agreement ended

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 9:46 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Book Buyers, a popular used bookstore in Plaza Midwood, will soon be operating out of a new location.

For 22 years the shop has been located in a shopping center in the 1300 block of The Plaza.

Lee Rathers, whose father, Richard, owns the store, said her family was notified that the shop’s lease agreement was coming to an end.

Rathers said the shop has been operating on a month-to-month lease the past few years.

She said Tuesday she received a letter from Eastern Federal Corporation, the real estate and private equity company that owns the shopping center, notifying her that the lease agreement was officially coming to an end and Book Buyers would need to leave the property by January 31.

Lee said her family wanted to keep Book Buyers in its current location, but was told the rent price they would need to pay would be close to double the rate they are currently paying.

“We just decided we wouldn’t be able to afford that,” said Rathers in an interview with WBTV Friday evening.

Running Book Buyers has been a family affair for Rathers and her father.

She moved to Charlotte in 1999 to help her father open the store and she enjoys working alongside him.

“Every day is different and feeling like you know, I’m not just working here, I get to be a part of something great, of a really good bookstore,” explained Rathers.

She said she and her father weren’t shocked that their lease agreement was ending, but we’re still unhappy.

“(We were) just disappointed that we weren’t gonna be able to stay in Plaza Midwood. We’ve been here for so long,” said Rathers.

Josh Page, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Eastern Federal Corporation, sent WBTV an email writing in part, “We have some exciting plans to refresh the shopping center and think that the neighborhood will enjoy the new design and new tenant mix.”

Page did not respond to specific questions about Book Buyers.

“Maybe people will like who moves in here, but our longtime patrons aren’t too happy about it,” said Rathers. “The reason why a lot of people were moving to Plaza Midwood is that it was quirky and fun and different and not chains of restaurants and businesses.”

Donovan Stanley stopped by Book Buyers Friday evening. He said he specifically comes to Plaza Midwood for the unique businesses and now he’s seen a few of his favorite spots leave.

“It’s like as I get older, the city changes and it’s disappointing,” said Stanley.

Rathers said Book Buyers is already close to having a new home, but leaving their current location will be difficult.

“Thank you so much to everybody who’s been coming in and offering their help. It’s been really sweet,” said an emotional Rathers.

She said she and her father are close to securing a new spot for the business in the Eastway Crossing shopping center.

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