Cathy Stringer and Alda Pool purchased The Book Scene from Virginia Martino in October 2015.
Before moving to the location at 1820 W. 43rd St., Martino operated the store on Ella Boulevard next to Tony’s Mexican Restaurant for 25 years. Now, like so many other businesses as of late, the shop is closing.
“The Book Scene will be closing on May 31,” the owners in a May 1 Facebook post. “We were able to hang on after (Hurricane) Harvey and other floods. Being closed for the COVID-19 pandemic has left us with no other options. We thank you all for your support these past five years and we will miss you dearly.”
Stringer said the recent lack of business for the bookstore, which has since reopened after closing at the onset of the local outbreak of COVID-19, would not enable them to keep paying rent. Plus, Stringer drives to Oak Forest from The Woodlands, and Pool comes in from Spring.
“Everybody’s sad,” Pool said. “They’re like, ‘We just found you.’”
When Ministry Assistance of the Near Northwest Alliance (MANNA) relocated after a 2017 building fire, Pool and Stringer said their bookstore lost visibility. Most of their business came from word of mouth within the neighborhood.
Those readers are getting good deals until May 31. New paperback books are 20 percent off and new hardback books are 30 percent. General, used fiction books that were $0.75 each will now be $0.25 each. There’s also 25 percent off of new children’s books and games. Patrons can check back for additional discounts.
The Book Scene banner has been removed because the building is being painted. The store is still open until May 31.
“We will honor the credit you have on file, but we cannot take anything else in trade,” Stringer said.
Other bookstores have purchased some of their stock and the owners are also selling the shelving. Those books already sold have been tagged.
“They are getting really good deals,” Stringer said.
The Book Scene was a retirement gig for both Stringer and Pool. Stringer said she is still figuring out her next steps, while Pool said she will go back to volunteering in area schools.
“When they open again,” she said.