Ukazoo Books

For Ukazoo Books in Towson, a moving sale has turned into a closing sale, for now.

The store’s owners announced on Facebook today that a plan to move the store from Towson to Parkville has fallen through and they won’t have a new location before they must close the current store.

“Ukazoo has lost our lease at our current location,” co-owner and general manager Edward Whitfill wrote on Facebook. “We have also lost the building we were going to buy in Parkville. This absolutely breaks my heart to say. This means our moving sale is now a closing sale.”

Reached at the store in the Dulaney Valley Shopping Center, Whitfill said the owners of Ukazoo had some questions about the building they had hoped to buy after an inspection raised some “environmental concerns,” and they pulled out of the sale. The exact location was never made public.

In the meantime, the landlord of the current store at 730 Dulaney Valley Road has found a new tenant for the current Ukazoo space, Race Pace Bicycles, and the bookstore has to be out by December 15.

Whitfill said Ukazoo’s owners are still looking to buy or lease a 5,000 square foot space for a relocated bookstore. But they’re unlikely to be able to move into a new space before they have to leave the current space, he said, and that’s why they’re holding a closing sale. The final date for the store to be open in Towson is likely to be December 11, he said.

An independent, locally owned bookseller, Ukazoo has been at the Towson location since 2007, most recently on a month to month lease. Over the past nine years, it has developed a strong following selling new and used books and other merchandise, including toys and artwork. It has 100,000 volumes in 10,000 square feet of space.

The owners began looking for a smaller location after concluding that they weren’t making enough money in sales to support a long-term lease for their current 10,000 square foot space. Whitfill said online booksellers such as Amazon are the store’s biggest competition.

Commenters on Facebook have suggested a variety of places where the store could move, from Hamilton/Lauraville to Bel Air. Whitfill said part of the challenge is that the owners want to stay within five miles of their current location, because they believe that’s the best way to retain customers, and many of the suggested spots are outside the five mile range.

Whitfill said he hopes to be able to announce a new location soon.

“We’re still committed to opening another store,” he said. “We just have to come up with another plan…We’re going to work very hard to find a new place before we close this one down.”


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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.