As the longtime owners of Women & Children First in Chicago and Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor seek to turn their stores over to new owners, several small Midwest bookstores are also undergoing transition.
On June 1, Book Heads Books in Plymouth, Wisc., changed ownership, as Susan Noordyk sold the general bookstore to a longtime customer, Cara Scofield. Plymouth is a town with approximately 8,000 residents, halfway between Milwaukee and Green Bay, and Noordyk, who is retiring, bought the store more than a decade ago. (When Noordyk bought the store it was called Books Etcetra, and she changed the name to Book Heads.)
Scofield, who has no previous bookselling experience, doesn’t anticipate making any major changes to the store other than “a bit of rearranging” in the 900-square-foot retail space. Previously employed by the State of Wisconsin as a special education liaison, Scofield told PW that she bought the shop because she likes books, “and loves the store.” Plus, she said, her young son “wanted to work in a zoo or a museum or a bookstore;” he helps out at the store with the computer.
Further west, in Northfield, Minn., south of the Twin Cities, Jerry Bilek announced that the store he founded in 2006, Monkey See, Monkey Read, is up for sale. The store, which includes new and used books, and games and puzzles in its inventory, is 1,200 square feet and is located in the historic center of a college town that is home to two colleges--Northfield and St. Olaf.
Bilek says that he is “looking for a change” after 22 years as a bookseller and has no set deadline for selling the store. He intends to continue to operate it as long as it takes to find a new owner. “I’ve had a lot of interest in the store and am optimistic that it will sell soon,” he told PW, emphasizing that the store is profitable with a loyal customer base. “Annual sales have grown each year we have been in business,” he noted, “I am looking for the right person to step in and lead the bookstore into the future.”
And, in the small town of Roseau, Minn., in the northern reaches of the state, Inspiration Hollow is closing its doors as soon as all merchandise and fixtures is sold off. Angie Grafstrom, Inspiration Hollow’s owner, who opened the store 13 years ago, announced the store’s closing on Facebook on June 1 and also announced that all future events are cancelled. Since June 1, the store is open only on weekends, “except for softball weekends,” she wrote.