Monday, August 1, 2011
Dallas-based Half Price Books seeks ex-Borders employees
They've put out a nationwide memo that any Borders employee will be considered for employment at Half Price Books stores.
Posted by Flickr user fsse8info
DALLAS About 130 North Texans will lose their jobs after bookstore megachain Borders recently announced it would fold. A total of 17,000 Borders employees across the U.S. are estimated to be unemployed, and that figure includes the layoffs at 200 Borders stores in the beginning of 2011. To help Borders employees in every region find another job, a blog called Help Ex-Borders Employees lists opportunities for those literary minded.
“I think there is solidarity – real, good, warm, true solidarity – among people in the book business,” said Chris Kubica, a database programmer in Chapel Hill, N.C., who started Help Ex-Borders Employees with Colleen Lindsay, who works at Penguin Group (USA). “We try to look after our own,” Lindsay said.
Dallas-based Half Price Books is getting in on the action by soliciting job applications from Borders employees. In a job posting on Help Ex-Borders Employees, it encourages jobseekers to look at Half Price Books. And it's worked: Some stores, like the flagship store on Northwest Highway, received up to five applications last week for open positions. The Dallas chain has already hired former Borders employees at its stores in Preston Village, Mesquite, and at the flagship store in Dallas.
A transition from Borders to Half Price Books is a novel idea, said Steve Leach, vice president of training for Half Price Books. He said the two stores have had a “symbiotic relationship,” explaining that he and his managers would send customers to Borders if Half Price Books didn't have the item they were looking for, and Borders employees would often return the favor.
Half Price Books officials had initially said that Borders' close would be competition for Half Price Books while Borders offers its remaining items at a discount. But Leach says the impact will be good in the long run. “People divide up their dollars, and Borders being gone should mean that people who are still around will get more [at remaining stores].”
For Lindsay and Kubica, helping out ex-Borders employees is just a nice thing to do for their fellow bookworms. And it's a way to honor the bookstore institution.
“The thing to remember about Borders is that they trained an army [of] damned good booksellers,” Lindsay said. “Say what you will about their corporate decisions, but at the ground level, these are some of the best and brightest that the book industry has to offer. It would be a shame to lose so much book industry knowledge and passion. I think Half Price Books would be a brilliant fit for a lot of these former Borders employees. Indeed, just about any bookstore would benefit from the experience that these booksellers bring with them.”