Image via Facebook.

Greetings & Readings, the local bookstore and gift shop with a 49-year history in the Baltimore area, will close next month, the shop announced on Facebook.

In a note, the families that own the store, the Baums and Spunds, wrote the decision “was exceptionally hard and not without much thought and prayer.”

“We have explored every avenue and yet we faced the inevitable realization that the current retail environment is not sustainable,” the note said.

Steven Baum, president of the store, elaborated in an interview with the Baltimore Business Journal that shoppers migrating online led to shrinking sales.

“The internet has put a crush on everything,” he told the paper. “We’re in double-digit decreases now. It is just dead.”

In a media release about the closure, Baum said sales started to decline by 3 percent in 2008, and down by 15 percent this year. Plans to sell the business or merge with another store never materialized, he said.

“Our family has continued to put personal money into the business–but there comes a point where you’ve explored every avenue and you need to make the hard, but inevitable, decision to close the doors.”

Opened by Phyllis Baum in 1969 at a shopping center located at the southwest corner of Taylor Avenue and Loch Raven Boulevard in Towson, Greetings & Readings grew to be a stalwart local shop, offering shelves of best-sellers and other titles, gift cards and more.

In 2005, the store moved to a larger space at Hunt Valley Town Centre, expanding its offerings to include candy, gifts and fashion accessories.

The store will be running a grand finale sale, with 25 percent off books and magazines and 30 percent off store-wide, through Jan. 20.

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore...