Even though sales are up, they say, Chapter 2 Books co-owners Sue and Brian Roegge announced that, unless they are able to sign a lease on another space this month, their three-year-old bookstore in the Twin Cities suburb of Hudson, Wis. will close its doors. Chapter 2 must vacate its 900-square-foot retail space in downtown Hudson by February 28.
“There’s an 1,800-square-foot space we want to rent,” Sue told PW, “But the owners are talking to two other people. We’ll find out this weekend. There are no other spaces in Hudson.” In anticipation of their not being able to relocate, Chapter 2 Books is holding a “local author extravaganza” on February 15. Eighteen regional and national authors, including William Kent Krueger, Sarah Stonich, and David Housewright, will visit the store, greet customers, and sign books, which will all be discounted.
After a dentist bought the building this fall that has housed Chapter 2 since July 2011 and the Roegges were given notice to vacate the premises by February 28, they started a petition drive urging the new landlord to extend their lease. About 300 people signed the petition.
Closer to Milwaukee, another Wisconsin independent is also undergoing transition . Fireside Books & Gifts in West Bend is up for sale as the owner, Gary Christianson, wants to retire. The 5,000-square-foot store opened in 1983 as a Little Professor franchise in a 1,600-square-foot space. It relocated to a 2,600-square-foot-space in 1988, and then to its current location in 1998, when Christianson also renamed it Fireside Books.
Christianson, 71, told PW that he’s had increasing health problems the last few years, and he “can’t do this too much longer.” When his lease was up in November, his landlord revised it to a month-to-month lease through the end of March, while Christianson looks for a buyer.
“There are a couple of good prospects, people who are working on business plans,” he said, “Hopefully it will all come together.” Christianson said that in the event that the store is not sold or in the process of being sold by the end of March, there is the “possibility” that it will close its doors.