Amy Vanden Plas, the owner of Butterfly Books in De Pere, Wisc., announced this past weekend that the children’s bookstore in a Green Bay suburb will close its doors by mid-July, after 20 years in business. The store, which bills itself as the “largest local independent children’s bookstore in Wisconsin,” has canceled its schedule of upcoming events and is selling off its entire inventory at heavily discounted prices.
Bud and Karen Gaston opened Butterfly Books in 1991, and sold it to a store employee, Barbara Wilson, in 2003. Vanden Plas purchased the store from Wilson in 2009. Vanden Plas explained in a brief statement posted on the store’s Web site that she and her staff can no longer “provide the quality service and product [customers] deserve” due to “economic times.” Besides Green Bay’s 7% unemployment rate having a negative impact on the local economy, Vanden Plas disclosed that the store has not received any purchase orders from local schools this year, which previously was a “huge part” of her business. “I assume it’s budget cuts, but I haven’t heard anything,” she said.
Neither Vanden Plas nor her four employees have decided what they will do after the store shuts down.