The Book House, which has been searching since spring for a new home in the St. Louis suburbs, signed a lease Tuesday afternoon on a new location. The 2,000-square-foot store, located for the past 27 years in a 150-year-old renovated Victorian house in the St. Louis suburb of Rock Hill, Mo., will move approximately three miles east to what owner Michelle Barron describes as the “the heart of the Maplewood Historic District.” The store will remain in its current location through September and is tentatively scheduled to re-open sometime in October in the new space.
“The space in Maplewood is bigger than the Rock Hill location,” Barron wrote in a press release, describing the 8,500-square-foot building as once housing a department store that has been vacant for over 20 years. Barron intends to open the Book House in its new space in stages, and will initially operate a small retail storefront on the street level before and during the holiday season as the building is brought up to code. She estimates that it will take two or three months to do enough work on the building, which was leased “as is,” in order to obtain an occupancy permit and retail license. Eventually, the store will include 7,000 square feet of retail space and 1,500 square feet of storage, but Barron says that it's "got to be phased in" over perhaps the next two years.
“It will be pretty barebones and bohemian for a while,” she stated in the release, as workers renovate the basement area this fall to create more retail space while the store raises funds to build out the rest of the building. Barron is launching a Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaign “soon,” she says, to raise $60,000 to both complete the move from Rock Hill to Maplewood and to renovate the building. She also plans on hiring three employees after the move to the new location.
The Book House was served with a 90-day eviction notice in April, as the owner of the building was selling it to a developer, who is going to tear it and adjacent buildings down, to build an industrial storage facility. The store originally was ordered to vacate the premises on July 25, but the order to vacate was extended through the end of September. Before Barron, her four employees, and a host of volunteers started moving books out of the current space this summer, the Book House stocked 300,000 new and used books in the store. The Book House also lists another 80,000 titles on its Web site.