What Is the History Behind Borders Bookstores?


Quick Answer

Borders Bookstore was founded in 1971 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, by brothers Tom and Louis Borders, who were students at the University of Michigan. At its peak, the company operated over 1200 Borders stores worldwide. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011 due to declining sales.

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Full Answer

The brothers reportedly founded Borders after purchasing a collection of antique books from a rummage sale. The company began in two small rooms in Ann Arbor, and moved several times in the next few years as it began to grow.

In 1992, Borders was acquired by Kmart and merged with Waldenbooks, another book retailer owned by Kmart. Many senior executives left the company after the acquisition, however, leading Kmart to set up the company as an independent entity in a stock-purchase plan.

After a failed attempt to open a Canadian store, Borders opened its first location overseas in Singapore. Borders went on to open stores in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Beginning in 2006, the company faced financial troubles due to faltering sales. The next five years saw a series of management changes and store closings, which ultimately failed to save the company. Borders declared bankruptcy in 2011, and its trademarks and customer list were acquired by Barnes & Noble.

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