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Decades-old Gainesville bookstore to close doors
The Hall Book Exchange is closing its doors after more than 30 years and three locations in Gainesville.

A familiar site for those who drive up and down Thompson Bridge Road will soon close due to lack of business.

“We announced it two weeks ago,” owner Myra Meade said. “We’ll probably be out of here by Wednesday. It depends on what goes out of here the rest of this week, and Monday.”

The Hall Book Exchange opened in 1983 under Mary McKenzie, who first stocked the original location with thousands of romance novels.

The store changed hands a few times, until Meade, who had worked there for many years, purchased the business in 2001.

Shortly after, she moved to the 1854 Thompson Bridge location. The business has hosted different events through the years, including the Gainesville/Hall County Alliance for Literacy’s annual Read-A-Thon, raising around $12,000 for literacy programs in Hall County.

“I am very disappointed that Myra is having to close her store after so many years,” said Dorothy Shinafelt, the alliance’s executive director. “I guess e-readers are going to destroy actual books. I do not own one and cannot imagine that pulling a child onto your lap to read off of the computer screen is quite the same as a book.”

Shinafelt said the event would likely not continue; instead, the alliance will focus on other fundraising activities.

Everything is on sale, including all fixtures and bookcases. Used books are $1 each, while new books are 40 percent off the cover price. All merchandise, such as bookmarks and greeting cards, is 50 percent off.

The store is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Not many people come in much anymore, so we’re just closing up,” Meade said. “I looked for other properties that were more affordable, but rent is just high everywhere.”

Shinafelt said many don’t realize the roles Meade has filled over the years.

“Myra donated books to many nonprofit organizations benefiting veterans, children and families,” she said. “Many residents depended on her to send books to friends and family in jail or prison. I doubt if anyone is going to pick up these services.

“The closing of Hall Book Exchange is a loss to our entire community.”