Some Thoughts on the Closure of Duthie Books on 4th Avenue

After 53 Years Duthie Books is Closing Their Doors. Photo by Jacek S.

Alright. It’s getting a little dusty in here.

I’m going thru the phases. First: Denial. Now: Crushing realizations. Some time later: Acceptance or something like it.

Here’s a letter that I just posted on Steven Beattie’s blog that sums up how I feel right now.

Sad news.

As someone who worked at the original Duthie’s flagship store in downtown Vancouver back in the 90’s it’s easy for me to say that this is sad news but it’s hard for me to say that this is terribly surprising news.

It was pretty clear from certain emanations that Cathy’s heart just wasn’t in it anymore and hadn’t been for quite some time.  And given the current industry/economic climate, that’s not hard to understand.

The writing on the wall was in very clear,  plain script. It wasn’t difficult to read.

I’m sure that Cathy has known for a long, long time that this day was coming and it must have been an incredibly agonizing decision for her to make.

It’s a very heavy legacy to put an end to.

It’s easy for people to point fingers at all of the usual suspects and get puffed up in a righteous rage about news like this but to me, one who worked there when the franchise was at its peak in the mid 90’s and who has friends who lost their jobs there today, I think it’s more honest to say that the train had simply reached the end of the line.

53 years is a long time and Cathy and Celia and Ria, my old buddy Mike Varty, Jane Sayers, Dina Del Bucchia, Susan Jahnke and everyone else that prowls those aisles should be proud of what they’ve done.

They should be happy that they’ve made such a huge impact on the culture of this city and even though the curtain is coming down on a legendary piece of Vancouver’s literary culture we have to believe that there are better days ahead of us.

All of us.

Thank you and best wishes to all of my friends who worked at Duthie Books over the years and to the Duthie family for making it so good while it lasted.

I’m going to go over there tomorrow and buy me some books.

The Famous Duthie Books on 4th Avenue Window. Photo by Szimek S.

Sean Cranbury is the Executive Editor of Books on the Radio. He's also Founder and Creative Director of the Real Vancouver Writers' Series. Sean is General Manager at the legendary Storm Crow Tavern and consults with literary arts organizations on digital communications strategies.

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