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Left Bank Books To Close Downtown Location

(via Flickr/Heath Harris)

Calling it a decision based on the numbers, Left Bank Books has announced plans to close its downtown store at 10th and Olive streets. 

"We could not make the numbers work going forward," co-owner Kris Kleindienst said. "We tried really hard, our landlord tried really hard, and it just wouldn't work for our store."

She and co-owner Jarek Steele were evaluating the numbers "every day" since the store had opened in December 2008.   

"I feel like this process has been five years in the making," Kleindienst said. "[Closing] obviously wasn't our first choice, but we had to kind of be mentally prepared that it could happen."

She said sales at the store increased every year, but not enough to keep up with the cost of business.

Left Bank's flagship location in the Central West End is unaffected by Friday's announcement. Leftover inventory will be transferred to the Central West End location from the downtown store.  Kleindienst isn't sure about the last day of business, but Left Bank has to be out of the Olive St. space by the end of May.

Kleindienst said Left Bank would consider expanding again if the finances worked. And she said the closure of the downtown location should not discourage other businesses from opening downtown. 

"There's still a lot of room for first-floor retail ventures downtown," she said. "Book-selling is a challenging industry. The things that we do don't necessarily apply across the board to other kinds of retail. I still think things are growing downtown, and I'm glad and proud that we got to be a part of that for five years."

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.