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Final chapter for beloved Mile-End bookstore set to close

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A Mile-End book store that faced closure because of a massive rent hike in 2021 is set to close its doors at the end of July.

Signs thanking the community and announcing a closing sale were splashed across S.W. Welch Bookseller on Saint-Viateur Street on Saturday.

The store made headlines in February 2021 when owner Stephen Welch said he was on the verge of closing because his landlord hiked his monthly rent by 150 per cent, just as he was getting ready to reopen from a COVID-19 lockdown.

The ordeal triggered an outpouring of community support, even catching the attention of Louise Penny, co-author of Hillary Clinton's book State of Terror. She came swiftly to the store's defence and encouraged people to support local businesses.

Weeks later, Welch said on social media that building owner Shiller Lavy had a change of heart and that a lease was negotiated for two more years.

Welch said at the time that he planned to retire once the new lease was up.

Posts on the store's social media on Saturday simply said it would close at the end of July and announced a 50 per cent off sale.

A slew of comments on the post expressed sadness over the loss of a neighbourhood gem.

"Thank you for all stories that you've brought into our lives and into the neighbourhood. SW, you're one of a kind," read one Facebook comment.

Welch couldn't be reached for an interview on Sunday.

-With files from CTV's Luca Caruso-Moro and Rob Lurie

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