Out with the old

Swung by Oxford Comics last night, which, as I recall, used to be attached to the Buckhead Oxford. Fortunately for them, they weren’t actually the same business as Oxford Books, so they survived Oxford’s dissolution. Oxford got killed attempting to expand from its original funky location at Peachtree Battle into a local chain; it worked for a couple of years, and then Borders and B+N came and the market got oversaturated. Oxford fall down go boom.

Continuing in a similarly maudlin vein, I thought of other places I used to know and used to go to which aren’t around anymore:

Tortilla’s – once everyone and his dog started making burritos, Tortillas evidently decided to get out. For my money, Willy’s and Burrito Art couldn’t hold a candle to Tortillas (and some folks would say that Tortillas was nothing to Frijoleros on Peachtree).

Across the street from Tortillas for a couple of years was the noble attempt at a cybercafe, Innovox lounge. Innovox was way cool, but was always just hanging on to existence.

For ten years I lived a block away from Ken’s Tavern on Piedmont, a dive’s dive with a relaxed atmosphere, where college frat pledges would attempt to steal the barstools. It’s gone now, and some cajun joint is in it’s place. Whatever.

Other bookstores: The Old New York Bookshop, now (I think) a restaurant, and the Ansley Mall bookstore of my youth, now Chapter 11 (and still decent). The Science Fiction and Mystery bookstore closed recently and geeks everywhere are saddened – I was one of the folks who pitched in some cash to try to keep it open during it’s last few years. A Capella books still rocks, and thank God for the Atlanta Book Exchange – let me insert a plea here to everyone to please please do your part to keep independent booksellers open!

It’s part of the natural cycle of things – places come, places go, and one day you look up and you don’t recognize the landmarks anymore. What places do you miss?

23 Comments so far

  1. Jessica (unregistered) on December 9th, 2004 @ 7:15 pm

    Batty’s Best will close at the end of January. Sob!

    And I spent so much of my childhood at Oxford Too.

  2. Joseph G (unregistered) on December 10th, 2004 @ 12:33 am

    I pitched in money to help keep the SF and Mystery bookshop going too…but some part of me deep down knew it was a lost cause. They didn’t do a really good job of promoting themselves with events and the like–Mark had a huge e-mail list, but never seemed to do much with it. The store’s prices were also way over what I could pay for the same books online or at a place like Kudzu (which is a great overstock bookstore).

    I’m sorry to hear about Batty’s…it was a pretty nice store.

  3. Thomas (unregistered) on December 10th, 2004 @ 11:22 am

    Innovox. Wow … now that was a good place that always put integrity and intention ahead of the bottom line. That was they’re downfall, of course … but you have to admire a coffee shop that would shift to a 24-hour establishment when the kids at GSU and Tech were studying for finals.

    And I still miss Tortilla’s. Never have I found a better tomatillo sauce or a better burrito to receive it. But I knew it was coming when they expanded their menu to including choices for what kind of tortilla you wanted. When you have such a reputation, that kind of choice is unnecessary.

    Oxford Comics is probably my most beloved store in all of Atlanta, especially since the demise of Oxford I and II. In the days before Amazon and Bookfinder.com, you could call up Oxford from anywhere, describe the book you wanted and have it shipped anywhere. They had or could find just about anything, and if it was a hardcover book … it would arrive with the dustjacket encased in library plastic. Class. Pure class.

  4. gttim (unregistered) on December 13th, 2004 @ 4:28 pm

    The Science Fiction and Mystery bookstore closed? I was thinking about that place a few months ago. Shame.

    Oxford was great. I remember meeting a great mystery writer, Ralph Dennis, working there after his publisher went under. Seems was having trouble getting his rights back, or some such thing. He passed before Oxford did.

  5. JDATL (unregistered) on December 14th, 2004 @ 8:45 am

    Oxford was wonderful, unfortunate that they didn’t manage their capital well (remember all of those out-of-print hardbacks on the tables = $$$).

    It is still a bit shocking though the Chapter 11 is the “local” bookstore; haven’t been in a while, but I remember thinking it was pathetic. But they seem to pull in authors, etc., perhaps things have changed. A better name wouldn’t hurt :) .

  6. JDATL (unregistered) on December 14th, 2004 @ 8:45 am

    Tortillas is still missed every day!

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  23. Karen (unregistered) on January 24th, 2006 @ 3:27 am

    Muffins, Oxford closed because their employees stole from them and they never did anything about it. The resultant inventory shrinkage eventually doomed them. The Buckhead store hopped at all hours, as did the used store above the old comics shop — that does not indicate death-by-overexpansion.

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