Raven Used Books closing Jan. 13
GREENFIELD — The owner of Raven Used Books said she gave it three years to make a go of it in Greenfield and it didn’t happen.
After three years on Bank Row, Betsy Frederick has decided to close her Greenfield store on Jan. 13 and concentrate on her book store in downtown Northampton.
“There was never enough foot traffic on Bank Row, for one thing,” said Frederick.
She said a bad economy and the promise of a downtown performing arts center that never materialized were also factors.
The Franklin County Community Development Corp., Greenfield Community College, owners of Greenfield Garden Cinemas, and the town were making plans to create a performing arts center in the cinemas and former First National Bank buildings when owners of the Garden backed out, saying it didn’t make economic sense for them.
Several months after the Garden backed out, the CDC gave up its stake in the idea and there hasn’t been much, if any, talk about it since.
“I’ve also heard a lot of people complain about parking in Greenfield over the past few years and we just didn’t end up having enough people coming in here, probably because of that,” said Frederick on Friday.
The town has discussed plans to build a municipal parking garage off Bank Row and Olive Street for more than three years, ever since William Martin became mayor, but has not been able to secure funding through grants and government incentives to make those plans a reality.
Frederick said her three-year lease was expiring with developer Jordi Herold, who owns and renovated the block her store is located in on Bank Row, and she decided not to renew it.
Herold bought the buildings on Bank Row, from the former Ruggeri building on the corner of Main and Bank Row to the office building at the end of the block, with the exception of the former First National Bank building, in February 2009 and renovated all of them.
He completed the extensive renovations a year later and welcomed his first tenants, which included Raven and Greenfield Coffee, in 2010. Two other original tenants, a computer store and hair salon, have also left and Manna House Korean restaurant has moved into the hair salon spot.
“My decision has nothing to do with Greenfield or the people here,” said Frederick. “It’s just that three years was long enough to see if you could make something happen. It took a lot of energy.”
Frederick said the space she is leaving is nice and includes a courtyard.
“I have a no doubt that another business will move right in,” she said.
Frederick said she has no intention of closing the Northampton store and said she will honor gift certificates and store credits purchased at the Greenfield store in Northampton. She will also redeem frequent buyer cards.