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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bad news: Shinders shuttered after 91 years

The legal thread in this post is, admittedly, a thin one, but it provides an excuse to lament the closing of a unique and wonderful Minnesota business.

Shinders, the newsstand/bookstore/collectibles dealer that was a 91-year presence throughout the Twin Cities, closed its few remaining stores Monday after years of apparent mismanagement by Robert Weisberg, the attorney who bought the chain from the Shinder family (to whom he was related by marriage) in 2003.

The business began falling apart last year when Weisberg was arrested after police found methamphetamine, Ecstasy, needles and a .40-caliber rifle in his van. Weisberg failed to appear for at least two recent court appearances, and also faces disciplinary action before the state Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility board for negligence in his law practice, which closed this year.

The chain was losing $100,000 per month when a court-appointed receiver turned control over to its banker, Wells Fargo. The bank liquidated some of the company's assets to repay a pair of loans to Weisberg originally valued at $1.7 million.

Shinders got its start in 1916 with three Shinder brothers - Harry, Daniel and Al - selling newspapers on the street. Many of us recall the pair of Shinders stores that sat on either end of Block E (back when that block, in the middle of which sat Moby Dick’s bar, was considered the “dangerous” part of downtown Minneapolis).

Between the rows upon rows of specialty magazines, oddball books, exotic and brilliant comic books and graphic novels, out-of-town newspapers, piles of sports cards – and yes, the back room of adult publications – there’s never been a better place to kill a lunch hour.

RIP, Shinders.


Anonymous said...

"Now street punks, slackers and losers have no job. It's so sad, I think I'll cry!"


Anonymous said...

No sympathy for Weisberg. It's only too bad being an a-hole can't be added to the criminal charges. With all the bad karma he's dealt out to so many people he'd get a life sentence.

Anonymous said...

Weisberg is the epitome of an a-hole; stealing money from employees, failing to pay the required bills for businesses and employees he's responsible for, accusing employees of stealing his stuff when all they are trying to do is save a business they love...Criminal charges should be brought against him.

E. Kubinek said...

Legal question!

I worked for Shinders way back, before the buy out. I have always said it would be a great basis for a tv pilot - all the crazy stores about the place (like teh guy who lit him self on fire in the Porn room at the down town Minneapolis store).

If Shinders is gone - forever gone, and there is no business to damage - can you still be sued for libel if you talk a whole lot of shit about it?
Like - if I got a Pilot made, and called it Shinders - could I be sued?