After nearly 47 years, River Oaks Bookstore’s story has come to an end.
According to a Facebook post by a current employee, River Oaks Bookstore will permanently close at the end of this year.
“After nearly forty-seven years in business, River Oaks Bookstore will close at the end of this year. When our doors close, a huge part of my life – all of our lives – will close with it,” bookstore employee Whitney Carson wrote on Facebook.
The closing comes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which jeopardized the fate of several small businesses.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstores nationwide experienced a plummet in sales by 65 percent in April compared to a year prior, Houston Chronicle reports.
In an effort to adapt to the circumstance, the River Oaks Bookstore offered curbside pickup and delivery services while its doors locked out in-store shoppers.
As coronavirus resurges around the country, Carson is reminding others to support local businesses during this challenging time.
“When possible, shop local. Pay attention to the places and people that make a difference to your community, and to you,” Carson wrote. “Remember, now more than ever, that it matters and these places matter.”
Jeanne Jard, 90, is one of the original founders of River Oaks Bookstore. Her son and daughter-in-law now run it but Jard is still the heart and soul of the business.
“I’m a reader. I can’t be without a book,” she said.
Jard has been recommending books to generations of readers for more than 40 years.
“I have yet to have anyone complain about any book that I have suggested to them,” Jard said.
Jard sees so many of the people who shop at the store, not as customers, but as her friends.
“Books are just a part of me. I can’t bear for people not to have them,” Jard said.
That’s why she takes such pride in matching them with the right book. According to the bookstore’s website, her suggestions and reading lists are legendary.
“You can go to a big store and buy five books and not like any. And you can come here and you will get the one you love,” Jard said.
Her greatest hope is that her beloved bookstore will be remembered as a haven.
“I’ll miss my friends. My life is here. Leaving it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but the time has come. When you read a book, whether you remember it or not really doesn’t matter because it becomes part of you,” Jard said.