Main Street Books in St. Charles, Mo., is about to change ownership. The store was scheduled to close its doors on January 31, but, with the sale, will now remain open in its current location. The new owner, a 25-year-old local woman who works in the financial industry, does not want to be identified until she has given notice to colleagues and clients at her current job.
Vicki Erwin, who has run Main Street since 2006, says she has signed a contract ("with contingencies") and will officially transfer ownership of the store on February 14. Erwin told PW that Main Street will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays until then, as the store’s stock “is pretty depleted.” Although retirement is now within Erwin’s grasp, she intends to work with the new owner “for a while” to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
“It’s a much better solution. We’re much more content,” Erwin said Tuesday, after notifying publishers reps’ that the store was not going to close after all. While Erwin disclosed that the new owner does not have any previous bookselling experience, she said the woman is “very knowledgeable about books.” Also, Erwin, who had hoped to hand over the store to someone local, stressed that the new owner grew up in St. Charles and now lives nearby. Her parents, who are silent partners in her new venture, still live in the area.
Main Street Books has been in business in downtown St. Charles, a St. Louis suburb, since 1993. After Erwin purchased it from its previous owner, Mary Fran Rash, she moved it to an 1,800-square-foot location in the center of St. Charles’ historic downtown. The store carries 8,000-10,000 titles.
Other St. Louis-area bookstores are also undergoing transition in the coming weeks: All on the Same Page Bookstore in Creve Coeur, Mo., which sells primarily used books, is marking down by 50% some new books and all of its used book inventory in preparation for closing its doors by the end of February. The Book House announced yesterday it has scheduled an opening date of Feb. 10 in its new location in Maplewood. The store, which was evicted this past fall from its original location in Rock Hill, has to date built out 2,000 square feet in an 8, 500 square-foot building. Despite the store not being up to full building and retail code compliance during the holidays, the town of Maplewood allowed owner Michelle Barron to conduct business in a small storefront. Before Feb. 10, store personnel will take orders from customers at its office/warehouse, and pull books for them from storage.