Monday, July 28, 2014 · 6:32 p.m.

Chattanooga Books set to close

Vine Street store offered UTC students convenience, competitive prices

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UTC student Alison Hobson shops at Chattanooga Books, which will be closing this month. (Photo: Laura Milton)

Chattanooga Books is going out of business after its parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last June and decided to close it.

NBC Acquisition Corp., the parent company of Nebraska Book Company, which owns Chattanooga Books, announced in January that they would close seven "under-performing" off-campus stores, including Chattanooga Books, in February after the back-to-school spring semester rush ended, Barry Major, NBC president, said.

The University Echo is the student paper of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Major said they were doing this as a part of the negotiated Chapter 11 reorganization, and they had filed a notice with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the district of Delaware. 

The closings are due to a "capital structure issue" and not issues with NBC or the bookstores set to close, Major said.

"Over the past couple of months we have been taking a close look at our off-campus stores to study performance and future prospects," Major said. "The changes in our industry over the last few years have been especially difficult for our off-campus bookstores, and we are taking this time to ensure that we are making decisions that improve our bottom line."

The bookstore is currently having a 75 percent off "blowout sale" to get rid of excess UTC merchandise and apparel before the store closes at the end of the month. 

When asked about the future of the Chattanooga bookstore and the reason for the "blowout" sale, a Chattanooga Books employee stated that she "cannot disclose any of that at this time" and said she could not offer any further comments about the store.

The manager of Chattanooga Books also said she was not allowed to comment on the current situation with the college bookstore.

Major said although closing stores is a difficult decision, it was necessary in this instance.

"Closing bookstores is not an easy decision, as our dedicated employees and campus communities are being affected," Major said. "Nonetheless, we have an obligation to do what is in the best interest of our company."

Emily Rossman, a UTC sophomore from Murfreesboro, Tenn., said she will miss the convenience and low prices of Chattanooga Books.

She said she went to the bookstore a final time to purchase items during the blowout sale.

"I'm really sad that they are going out of business because they have all kinds of good stuff in there," she said. "The books are cheaper than in [UTC's] bookstore. I love Chatt Books because it's closer to campus, and the merchandise is cheaper than the bookstore."

The other NBC bookstores set to close at the end of the month include stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and Florida.

NBC is also looking at the possibility of shutting down an additional 40 off-campus locations, Major said.

This article is published with permission of The University Echo.

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