Tuesday, December 29, 2009

McNally Robinson



McNally Robinson has been an important institution for Winnipeggers since the 1980s. Prior to that, people relied on Coles and W.H. Smith books in the malls, Eaton's and The Bay for books at the department stores and for an independent book store, they went to Mary Scorer, founded in 1959.

In the 1980s, Winnipeg Supply's John Doole took over Mary Scorer and ran them for a time. However, a new independent bookstore was just starting.

McNally Robinson was founded in 1981 and since that time has moved around to a number of locations until they arrived at their Grant Park Shopping Mall location in 1996. It was Winnipeg's first taste of a superstore for books and since then the city has had a love affair with that location.

The move from Portage Place to Polo Park for McNally may have been a killer given the recession and proximity to the Grant Park location. Computerized reading tablets were also a big seller this year which may signify a new trend in how people read books. It cuts out traditional booksellers.

Lastly, the brutal price cutting from Amazon and Wal-Mart has no doubt affected the bottom line.

On December 29, 2009 McNally Robinson has declared bankruptcy. The Toronto store at Don Mills and Winnipeg's Polo Park close almost immediately. The Grant Park and Saskatoon location remain open and will stay that way unless the receiver agrees to restructuring.

One thing I can say is that I certainly spend a lot of money at McNally in a year. Where did I spend it? At the Grant Park location for the most part.

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3 comments:

Patrick Ross said...

That is, indeed, a very sad story.

I know it's a tall order, but have you thought about organizing a local investor's group of some kind to save the store?

It seems important enough to be worth the effort.

mrchristian said...

I think there is a place for a McNally's in a city this size. It's not just a "top 40" bookstore but is tied in with the local literary scene, music scene as well.

It's certainly a destination place - people will go out of their way to go to it. That's why I also found it odd that they would go to Polo Park. I've spent a lot of money there over the years and 90% was in Portage Place or Grant Park - I think I have been in the Polo Park store twice.

Though this is sad news, I think a scaled back McNally's chain in Winnipeg will still work for all the reasons that made it work in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Do you pictures of Grant Park in 1960s and 1970s? I would like to remember them. Thanks!