Pudd'nhead Books to Close December 31 -- Barring a Holiday Miracle

Categories: Bidness, Books

Jennifer Silverberg
Nikki Furrer
"We tried to do too much," Furrer says. "We tried to grow too fast." She took out another loan when the store moved in August of 2011 to a more conspicuous location on Big Bend Boulevard and cut back on events. The construction on the Murdoch Avenue bridge for most of 2012, though, cut off access to the stores on Big Bend, many of which, Furrer says, also lost business.

"We have loyal customers," she says, "but we don't have enough. Of all the neighborhoods in St. Louis, this was the best to [open up a bookstore] in -- but Webster rents are up there."

Furrer considered trying to raise money by hosting a trivia night or by starting up a Kickstarter campaign, but rejected both ideas almost immediately. "I don't want people buying books out of guilt. I didn't want to beg. This is just not sustainable. I'm not getting enough sales to cover the rent."

She realized in early September that she was going to have to close the store, but decided to wait until after the holidays. "We needed Christmas to mitigate the damages," she says. "November and December are the only time we make money. Considering how little inventory we have, sales have been good."

In January, Furrer plans to start hunting for a job. Henry will need to find employment as well. "We'll need to find him another store to hang out in," Furrer jokes.

The regular customers are sad. Some have come in especially to buy books before the store closes and place last-minute special orders. They've written sad notes and angry screeds on social media. They stand at the counter and tell Furrer how sorry they are and how much they'll miss having a bookstore nearby.

As for Furrer, "I was sad in September. I've had all five stages of grief mixed up. I'm still in denial, I'm still angry. I haven't reached acceptance yet, but I bargained like a lunatic.

"Would I open another bookstore? No. When I opened this one, I knew there was a 90 percent chance it wouldn't work. I have no idea why I went ahead with it. I guess I had to try it. I don't want to be the bitter, pissed-off, victim-y one. I flip back and forth between 'I can't believe I drove this into the ground' and 'I can't believe I kept this going so long.'"

Location Info


Pudd'nHead Books

8157 Big Bend Blvd., St. Louis, MO

Category: General

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