McNally Robinson Booksellers, the famous independent book-store that beat the big-box operations to the punch when it opened its large format store in Grant Park Mall in 1996, has started the process to transfer ownership of the company to two long-time staffers.
Co-founder Paul McNally said a price has been agreed to and a three-to-five year process to sell the business to Chris Hall, inventory manager, and Lori Baker, a finance officer with the company, has been started.
McNally said he and his wife and co-founder, Holly McNally, are both in their early 60’s "and we really shouldn’t be doing this for much longer."
With locations in Winnipeg and Saskatoon and an affiliation with McNally Jackson Books in New York (run by daughter Sarah McNally), the stores have carved out a successful retail niche in a sector that has been turned upside down by digital formats.
The company went through a brief court-appointed bankruptcy protection at the end of 2009 after ill-timed expansion into new stores in Toronto and Winnipeg’s Polo Park.
Those stores closed but the McNally’s reorganized the enterprise and the Grant Park and Saskatoon stores continue to thrive as the central hub for author book readings and other cultural events. Both locations also operate busy restaurants.