A beloved Montreal institution has shut its doors for good. On Tuesday morning, Librairie Olivieri announced that it will not reopen, concluding a 35-year run. The bookstore is surrendering to the pressures of the current crisis and long-standing construction difficulties. Librairie Olivieri called chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges home for its entire existence.
"It took the perfect storm to stop Olivieri," wrote the store's owners, Rina Olivieri and Yvon Lachance, on the store Facebook page.
"We have already sailed in hostile terrain in the past, but this time, let's face it, this is one too many."
The store was first temporarily closed in March in accordance with the Quebec government's orders.
"The construction of new condos on the St-Hubert site will result in a decrease in traffic and will seriously affect the activities of the bookstore and the bistro," wrote the owners.
"The latter's operations will be particularly affected. Impossible to open a terrace [...] in the noise and dust. And impossible to revive Olivieri in a context of social distancing, without events and without a bistro."
The ongoing health crisis has hit the local economy hard, with many businesses struggling to make ends meet in the current context.
The Government of Quebec announced Tuesday a gradual reopening of businesses throughout May. Elementary schools and daycares will open on May 11 in the regions and on May 19 in Montreal.
"All these years running a demanding bookstore, unwilling to compromise, presenting a rich and diversified collection, echoing through these activities the vitality of the book industry, Olivieri has been at the heart of Montreal's cultural life," wrote the owners.
Librairie Olivieri was a cultural partner to many local institutions including the Université de Montréal and the Côte-des-Neiges Library.
The neighbourhood will certainly miss Librairie Olivieri and its amazing collection and cultural events.
"Today, we have a very special thought for our first cohort of clients, intellectuals, writers, artists, great readers who believed in us from the start and whom we still encountered not too long ago," said the owners.
"Many are today among the first victims of this pandemic, more reclusive than the others, confined to trying to escape from this disease. Good luck."
"Thank you to the hundreds of employees who have crossed our history and especially those present and valiant during the difficult years."