The Book World chain closed another chapter on the story of disappearing bricks-and-mortar retailers — announcing last week that it is shuttering all 45 of its stores, including one at Moline’s SouthPark Mall.

The family-owned book store chain, founded by Bill Streur, has begun a liquidation sale across the seven states it operates. Headquartered in  Appleton, Wisconsin, the company has book stores in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

"It's been quite a success story for 40 years," said Mark Dupont, senior vice president and son-in-law to Streur, the owner and copmany president. "If there was a book store hall of fame, Bill would be in it."

Dupont said Book World had seen its ups and downs but with the latest downswing, "we just don't see a recovery." 

"It's not just us, it's all retail in general...," he said of the growing competition traditional retailers are seeing from online retailers.

Book World announced the decision to its employees early last week, Dupont said. The closure will impact about 325 employees.

In a news release, Book World Inc. said "The national shift in the retail marketplace towards e-commerce has triggered the loss of vital mall anchor stores and a downward spiral in customer counts at Book World stores, reducing sales to a level that will no longer sustain business operations."

Liquidation sales are expected to run through mid-January. Yellen Partners, a family-run liquidation company, has been hired to assist with the process. 

Founded in 1976 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, the store had grown to the fourth-largest book store chain in the country.

"We did something right for a long time," Dupont said.

Bank of America helps Give a Meal

Bank of America is partnering with River Bend Foodbank's Give a Meal program to help those facing hunger.

For every $1 donated online to the program, Bank of America Charitable Foundation will give $2 more — up to $1.5 million nationwide. Give a Meal helps reduce food insecurity in our community as well as communities around the country.

River Bend has set an ambitious goal of raising $25,000 from individual donors. With Bank of America's match, it would mean a total of $75,000. That would provide 375,000 meals.

"Give a Meal's 2-for-1 is the best matching gift opportunity all year long," said Michael Miller, River Bend's president and CEO. He stressed the match is based on individual gifts "so it is essential for community members to max out this opportunity."

For every $1 donated, the food bank can provide 15 meals for the hungry.

"This program is a wonderful chance for individuals to support their community and most importantly the hungry in eastern Iowa and western Illinois," said Heidi Parkhurst, Bank of America Iowa market president.

To donate, visit www.bankofamerica.com/give and select River Bend Foodbank as the donation recipient.

R.I.A. Federal lends support to United Way

R.I.A. Federal Credit Union showed it cares last week donating $9,776.28 to United Way of the Quad-Cities Area. 

The money was raised through the Bettendorf-based credit union's annual United Way campaign and the United Way Day of Caring with support from its members and employees.

Biz Bytes is a weekly column by Quad-City Times reporter Jennifer DeWitt. Contact her at 563-383-2318 or jdewitt@qctimes.com

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