Avatar Books, 2218 E. 11th St., Davenport, will close its doors for good sometime next month, owner Richard Erickson says.

“We are anticipating the last day sometime in January,” he said. “We had the bookstore

29 years.”

While the economy and the move to more Internet book buying has hurt in recent years, Erickson said his biggest reason for closing the used bookstore is his age.

“I want to find something to do. I am 79 and my wife is almost there, too,” he said. “I was deciding I didn’t want to do this. It is not because of the economy. But the business could be much better.”

Erickson and his wife, Phyllis, first opened bookstore at 423 5th Ave. in Moline and then operated it in the old Pierce School in the Village of East Davenport for about nine years before moving to the present location in the Village 13 years ago.

Avatar Books is open 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.


Good news for the holidays

Retail sales in November may have been the weakest in

35 years. But that did not stop retailers from hiring more workers last month than a year ago, according to reports released last week.

An analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data by Chicago-based global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that employment in the retail sector grew by 321,300 in November, a 37 percent improvement over 2008 when just 233,700 workers were added to retail payrolls for the shopping season.

With the 54,200 workers added in October, retailers have hired a total of 375,500 seasonal workers, almost as many as the 384,300 added in October, November and December in 2008.    

Business activity on the rise, too

Meanwhile, the Iowa Business Council’s Overall Economic Outlook Survey Index for the fourth quarter indicates that business leaders predict increased business activity over the next six months. The survey was completed by the 20 corporate members of the council during the second half of November.

The survey showed that

65 percent of the CEOs predict steady or increased business activity over the next six months. On the flip side,

35 percent of those surveys are predicting sales to decrease.

Also, 65 percent of corporate members expect capital spending levels to be substantially higher or remain the same through May. Seventy percent expect hiring to be higher or the same for the next six months, while 30 percent expect lower employment levels.

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