The end of Lexington’s Kennedy Bookstore has begun

The end of Lexington’s Kennedy Bookstore has begun

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Kennedy's Bookstore: a black and white photo of a bowling and bookstore
Original Kennedy's Bookstore courtesy of their social media

The hometown textbook store to the University of Kentucky closed its doors in 2017. How long has the store been around? Why did it close?

Kennedy's Bookstore: a black and white photo of a bowling and bookstore
Original Kennedy’s Bookstore courtesy of their social media

Since 1950, Kennedy’s Wildcat Den has been the bookstore students went to at the University of Kentucky, but it closed its doors at the end of the winter semester in 2017. “Sales have gone down, down, down,” said Carol Kennedy Behr, the general manager and daughter of founder Joe Kennedy. “This is just the time.”

Kennedy’s Bookstore changed its name to Kennedy’s Wildcat Den in 2013 to let customers know they sell more than just books. As internet competition grew, Kennedy’s sales and margins slipped. “When Amazon first came out, I vividly remember telling people, ‘Yea, we’re OK,’ but knowing that it might come,” said Behr.

Kennedy's Bookstore: construction site
Photo by Austin Johnson/ Ace

The University of Kentucky has partnered with Signet Real Estate Group, a private real estate company, to turn the bookstore into a 900 parking spot garage with retail and “innovation” space.

“Its going to be critical in making progress on the transportation master plan, but it’s so much more than a parking project,” said Melody Flowers, UK Executive Director of Strategic Analysis. “This is a mixed use opportunity to transform this critical property at the entrance to our campus with the use of ground floor retail and university innovation space.”

The project is anticipated to be finished by August of 2020.

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