Sunday, May 25, 2003

Former library sold to carpet store

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ERLANGER - The vacant public library branch next to the Silverlake Kroger's will become a local carpet company's new retail store on July 1.

Carpetland Carpet One purchased the former Erlanger branch library at 3130 Dixie Highway this month for $1.1 million, said Wayne Onkst, director of the Kenton County Public Library system. Its offer was the highest of the four that the library board received.

The carpet company won't have far to go. For the past 30 years, Carpetland Carpet One has leased space in the Erlanger Shopping Center, which is across the street from the former branch library.

"Our new location will be a more prominent one right on the street,'' said Ken Weisbacher, president of Carpetland Carpet One. "A lot of people will know where it is because so many people visited it as a library.''

For several years, Kenton County's Erlanger library has been Kentucky's busiest branch library because of its high circulation.

Weisbacher said the new Erlanger retail store will have 15,000 square feet, or about 21/2 times its current space.

The extra space will enable the store to add a large area rug department, he said. The company also plans to add large show windows across the front of its new building.

"Since we'd been across the street for 30 years; we didn't want to leave the area,'' Weisbacher said. "We've got a very loyal clientele.''

The second-generation family business was founded in 1946 in Walnut Hills and also has retail stores in Woodlawn and Milford, as well as a commercial division in Woodlawn.

Money from this month's Erlanger branch sale will help pay for the new $7 million, 34,294-square-foot library that opened Oct. 13 on Kenton Lands Road, Onkst said.

"We're up in users and circulation by about 50 percent since we opened the new building,'' he said. "For a building that size, things have gone very, very smoothly.''

Exceptions include a book drop that was installed too high and some worn pavers in the library's reading garden, he said.

Next week, plans call for workers to build up asphalt around the book drop that users have had to get out of their cars to reach.

Sometime this summer, the library system also plans to close the reading garden for a few days so that workers can replace the granite pavers. Some of the pavers have become worn and are hard to read, so the library system is replacing all of them with more durable, waterproof pavers, Onkst said.


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