After almost half a century as one of Baltimore’s most prominent independently owned bookstores, Greetings & Readings in Hunt Valley closed for business on Jan. 13.
The store, founded in 1969 by Phyllis Baum, spent its first 35 years in Towson’s Loch Raven Plaza. In 2005, when the store moved to its current 30,000-square-foot location in the Hunt Valley Towne Centre, Greetings & Readings became Baltimore’s largest independent bookstore. The new location featured a Wi-Fi-enabled reading lounge, a café, name-brand apparel, as well as other gifts.
In a statement announcing the closure, Greetings & Readings president Steven Baum, Phyllis’ son, made clear that closing the store was not an easy decision.
“We realize that we’re impacting the lives of our 80 employees, the community and our own families,” said Steven, disclosing that the company experienced a 15 percent loss in revenue last year. After unsuccessful attempts to secure a merger or buyer for the business, he added, the company could no longer compete with online retailers.
Phyllis, 85, still works four days a week with her son and his wife, Fran, as well as with her daughter, Amy Baum Spund, whose husband, Steve, is Greetings & Readings’ vice president. While Phyllis will miss the customers, she is proud of her family business.
“I could not be more proud of my children, Steven, Fran, Amy and Steve, for all they have accomplished over the years,” Phyllis said in a prepared statement. “We will celebrate all that we have accomplished in 49 years and take pride that we have been an integral part of the Baltimore community.”
I have been a customer since its Hillendale days. I frequently brought my granddaughter to the store where she spent several hours deciding which book to choose. What a fun Saturday afternoon! There was always agreat selection of cards and can’t forget the beautiful purses. Thank you for those wonderful years.
So very sad to see it close !! Greeting and Readings , you have been an amazing part of our every weekend family outing to Hunt Valley. My son Peter Alexander will be 11 next month , and we have been coming to the store since long before he was born , but most importantly since My sons first bday, as a tradition we’ve made to make a collection of books for him. He is an avid reader and absolutely Loves books !!! You will most definitely be very missed !! Our hearts ache, but we will be there this weekend to say goodbye!!! All the best to the family !!!! Thank you for the memories !!!,
The Klima Klan , or as my son loves to sign off,
Peter & Co. Xoxo