An exact closing date hasn’t been set yet, but Mr. K’s Used Books and CDs will probably close at the end of October or in November, the owners said Friday.
Co-owners Kaveh and Mary Dabir, who are husband and wife, said their revenues are down since Kroger moved from its store next door at the South Illinois Avenue shopping center to a new shopping center at Oak Ridge Turnpike and North Illinois Avenue in June 2014.
The Dabirs said they kept Mr. K’s open for a year after Kroger moved to see if they could make it work, but foot traffic has been down.
The closure doesn’t have anything to do with electronic books, Mary Dabir said.
“Real book sales are up over electronic book sales,” she said.
The Dabirs said they looked for other locations in Oak Ridge but were not able to find a suitable store.
Their other four stores remain open in Johnson City, Tennessee; Asheville, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; and Greenville, South Carolina. Kaveh Dabir said business at their other stores remains strong. Their headquarters remains in Knoxville.
The Mr. K’s store in Oak Ridge used to be McKay’s, which now has a store in Knoxville. The Dabirs bought the Oak Ridge store in 1996.
Their hours have been changed as they wind down toward closing. The book store is now open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, except for Sundays, when Mr. K’s is open from 12 to 6 p.m.
Customers can still use their trade credit and gift cards at the store through the closing. Credits and gift cards can also be used at their other stores. They are not taking in books for trade or cash.
They are currently offering a 40 percent discount on their merchandise.
A favorite book-buying spot for many, the 19-year-old business has sold used books, CDs, DVDs, games, comics, and records. Non-fiction booksâ€”including on history, crafts, psychology, military historyâ€”have sold the best, the Dabirs said.
The Dabirs thanked the community for their two decades of support.
“We had a good run here,” Kaveh Dabir said.
“We had a good time too,” Mary Dabir said. “It was a lot of fun.”
She said there has been a huge outcry over the store’s closing.
“It’s been a huge surprise for us,” Mary Dabir said.
She said some people might have taken the store for granted, and the Dabirs didn’t know customers held the store in such high regard.
“This was a pretty cool store to have in Oak Ridge,” Dabir said.
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