Well, Hilo Borders is now closed. This brings back to mind what was happening when they opened, The Hilo Economy was in the dumps, the last of the Sugar Mills, Hamakua Sugar has recently closed and unemployment was very high. They were a welcome addition the economy. As an avid reader and music lover, I spent a lot of time, and money at Borders. It was a far cry from Walden Books in the Mall. Borders also became the place for UHH students to study and do research, it was like a big library.
At that time I owned (and operated) Canoes Cafe in downtown Hilo. From my perspective, Borders was a Cafe and Espresso bar with a huge music and bookstore attached. There was no way I was going to compete against that. I could compete with a Cafe, but not the big store attached.
My response was to expand my menu beyond what they could offer, add lunch delivery and offer more creative espresso drinks. We also added the Cafe Music Network to Canoes Cafe, so we had more eclectic and newer music playing in our place. We even offered a Hawaiian Language menu. We survived for a number of years by doing what the big guy couldn't. Ultimately it was the daily grind of 25 years on the Restaurant business that wore me down physically and drove me to sell he business, But I have no doubt, we could've gone for much longer than the 9 years I had Canoes Cafe.
Now it seems as though the pendulum has swung back the way of small neighborhood Cafes with Wifi and good coffee. People just bring their Book and Music store with them on their Laptop or IPad.