Until quite recently, there was only one Whitcoulls bookstore in downtown Wellington -- the grand heritage building in Lambton Quay, pictured above.
Then the troubled bookstore chain was bought by Anne and David Norman, of Pascoes Jewellery and Farmers Department Store fame. At the same time, they bought the few Borders stores, including the one that was also in Lambton Quay. Because this ex-Borders store is just a small frontage away from a Farmers store, I imagined that they would turn the two into one big Farmers. But no, the signs came down, and signs went up, and the ex-Borders store became a second Whitcoulls, just a hop, step and jump from the original.
So we Wellingtonians have had the strange situation of two stores with the same name and the same stock in the same street.
Now, it appears that the heritage store will be closed down. The Wellington City Council has declared the wonderful old building to be an earthquake risk, which needs to be strengthened.
No press release has been issued, but according to an item in today's Dominion Post, it is understood that the first, original, wonderful Whitcoulls store will be closed by May 31.
Oh dear, I do hope they don't tear down that lovely old building ....