The Next Chapter Bookshop in the Milwaukee suburb of Mequon, Wisconsin, abruptly closed its doors permanently Tuesday morning. Lanora Haradon, The Next Chapter’s owner, also resigned her position as president of the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association Tuesday, effective immediately.
When contacted by PW, Haradon declined to comment on the reasons behind her decision to close her store and resign from MIBA’s board. In an e-mail sent to publisher reps Tuesday morning, Haradon asked that all outstanding orders be canceled due to the store’s closing, and apologized that she has not contacted reps individually, writing that “time and circumstances presently prohibit this.”
The Next Chapter’s pared-down website states that the store, which opened on April Fool’s Day in 2009, “closed forever 9/11/2012” and advises that some author events can be rescheduled at two nearby bookstores: Books & Company in Oconomowoc or Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee. Offsite events scheduled to take place at three different venues – two restaurants and a theater – will still take place.
“Every story has an ending,” Haradon wrote, thanking her customers and publishers for their support, as well as authors whose “visits and kind words will always be remembered.”
The Next Chapter, which previously was a Harry W. Schwartz Books location, was one of two bookstores in the Milwaukee area opened by Schwartz employees after the iconic local chain closed its doors in March, 2009 after 82 years in business. Haradon had been the manager of the Schwartz store’s Mequon location, which became The Next Chapter under her ownership. Daniel Goldin, manager of the Downer Avenue Harry Schwartz store, opened Boswell Book Company in that location.
Carrie Obry, MIBA executive director, confirmed that she and MIBA’s board had received an e-mail Tuesday morning from Haradon announcing her resignation, but said that the board has not yet had an opportunity to discuss how or even whether to replace Haradon as board president before the Heartland Fall Forum takes place in early October. Obry expressed regret that Haradon has resigned, calling her “such a good leader,” and a knowledgeable bookseller, “with an arsenal of incredible skills.”
“We believe as an association of booksellers that a bookseller should be our president,” Obry said, noting that Kathy Borkowski, the director of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, is the organization’s vice president. "We're sorting through things now."