M Coy Books & Espresso, a downtown bookstore that's been lively hangout for locals for close to two decades, as well as a great place...

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M Coy Books & Espresso, a downtown bookstore that’s been lively hangout for locals for close to two decades, as well as a great place for tourists to sample the bookish character of Seattle, has announced it will be closing its doors. The store will stay open at least through January, but has lost its lease and has to be out of its premises by the end of February.

Co-owners Michael Brasky and Michael Coy, in an open letter to friends and customers (“most of whom are one and the same”), wrote, “The economic struggle of keeping a small independent bookstore afloat in today’s retail environment has become virtually impossible.” The store, located on Pine Street, between First and Second avenues, opened 18 years ago.

“For the first 16 years of our business,” Brasky and Coy noted, “we were blessed with an exceptional landlord, who made it possible for us to weather some incredibly tough times. Times change and our new landlord has different priorities.”

“This is a business of musical chairs — and they just keep pulling them away,” Coy commented in a phone interview Friday. “There are just fewer jobs every time you turn around.”

Brasky, who also deals in antiques, will continue work at Antiques at Pike Place and at Pacific Galleries. Coy is “looking forward to the next chapter in what I hope will continue to be a rewarding work life.”

Brasky has been in the book business for 46 years, Coy for 33. Both of them worked for Pacific Pipeline wholesaler. Coy was co-owner of Bailey/Coy bookstore on Capitol Hill between 1982 and 1989, and managed a B. Dalton bookstore in Portland, Ore., before that.

Michael Upchurch: mupchurch@seattletimes.com