Canada’s Top Indie Retailer Files For Bankruptcy Protection

2009 brought an end to independent book retailer Borders UK and its 45 stores. On the eve of 2010, Canadian independent retailer McNally Robinson has filed for bankruptcy protection in the courts. The family-owned business has run bookstores in Canada since 1969 and they still remain hopeful of being allowed to commence financial restructuring to keep its two flagship megastores in Saskatoon and Winnipeg open for business in 2010. It has been forced to abandon retail operations in two newer stores in Toronto and their second store in Winnipeg. It does hope to maintain the operation of its ebook website and wholesaler, Skylight Books.

McNally Robinson retailers ran five different megastores in major Canadian cities which all featured Prairie Ink restaurant franchises. The bankruptcy and closure of two stores has led to the loss of 170 jobs.

“By now you may have heard that McNally Robinson has had to close two stores, one in Toronto and the other at Polo Park. Many jobs are lost and many customers will be disappointed. This has been a heart-rending process. However, Grant Park, our flagship store, has survived, as has our Saskatoon store. In addition we continue our wholesale division, Skylight books, and our website, These continue to reflect the quality of bookselling that has led to 6 citations as Canadian independent Bookseller of the Year since 1995. So while the potion is bittersweet, the glass is more than half full. The remaining stores will go forward. We will meet our obligations to customers. We will continue to offer our many programs (readings, book launches, talks, autographings, book clubs, and storytimes) and we will continue to explore new avenues of service to our communities. McNally Robinson will honour existing and carry-over customer obligations (special orders, Reader Reward Card memberships, gift cards, etc). We believe our stores will continue to be among the best independent bookstores anywhere in Canada. Prairie Ink Restaurants will continue both to whet appetites and to satisfy them. To the committed and brilliant booksellers who tried so hard to make Polo Park and Don Mills work, we are deeply sorry; to the customers who embraced those stores, we regret we cannot continue them. It is almost 30 years since we opened our first store, and we have in the intervening years been the beneficiaries of astonishing community loyalty. For this we thank you.”

Paul McNally, December 29th, 2009.

We wish Paul, his family and all staff at McNally Robinson Booksellers the very best wishes in 2010. May that glass grow full, again, in time…

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