Updated October 22, 2020 - 8:31 am
Myrna Donato sees the irony of having so many customers browse at her bookstore on Wednesday.
“If I would have had traffic like this, I wouldn’t be closing,” she half-jokes.
But Amber Unicorn Books hasn’t had enough foot traffic for a long time, so the store is scheduled to close next month. As a prelude, Donato — who opened the venerable Las Vegas used and antiquarian bookstore with her husband, Lou, 39 years ago — Wednesday kicked off a going-out-of-business sale.
The store, at 2101 S. Decatur Blvd., has suffered a significant drop in foot traffic since the closure of a Trader Joe’s in the same shopping plaza. Donato has continued to run the store since the death of her husband in November 2017 but decided to close it after a year-and-a-half search for a buyer proved futile.
Donato said sales began to pick up two weeks ago after she announced closure plans on Facebook. On Wednesday, the official start of the going-out-of-business sale, book lovers stopped by to pay their respects and pick up a few bargains, too.
Donato said a steady stream of customers began to arrive at 9 a.m. And despite that irony of crowds appearing for a going-out-of-business sale, “I’m thankful for the people coming in,” she says.
Shopper Dennis Leffner has been coming to Amber Unicorn “on and off over the last 20 years.”
It’s “nice to be able to get good, solid books in a variety of (genres) at a reasonable price,” he says, calling the impending closing “devastating.”
“There’s no other bookstore I know of here in Clark County — and I’ve been a resident for 51 years — that offers what Amber Unicorn does.”
Anthony Borgen has been a customer “probably since high school, so 10 years.” He’s moving to Texas at the end of the year and didn’t know it was closing.
But, he said, “I was just — because I’m moving — thinking, ‘Man, I’m going to miss Amber Unicorn. I hope there’s a place like it in Texas.’”
Lynn Bettinger has been coming by for about seven years. She gravitates toward mysteries and romances, and she arrived Wednesday with a list of authors her husband likes. But, she says, “I usually just walk the shelves.”
Bettinger will miss Amber Unicorn, because “there is a need for it.”
Starting Wednesday, all books were being sold at 30 percent off, and fiction paperbacks were $2 each. Donato says additional discounts will be applied as closing approaches.
She expects the sale to continue “until the end of November, unless I sell out completely before then.”