The Borders brothers and Joe Gable, of course, understood that from the start. Some now imagine wistfully that had Borders remained in one store, the crown jewel of Ann Arbor, its depth of titles and literate clerks might have allowed it to survive and flourish even in the face of the Internet and e-books.
In an Observer story last spring, poet Keith Taylor argued eloquently that Borders' downfall began the moment it decided to open a second store. But Chaim dismisses the dream that the company could have stayed as it was, forever Joe Gable's ideal academic bookstore on State.
"The horse left the barn long ago," Chaim says of the decision to expand. "That's what the Borders brothers wanted to see happen."