Anderson’s Bookshops is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a bookstore in its original Naperville location by expanding into another Chicagoland suburb. The Chicago Tribune reported Friday morning that Anderson’s is opening its third location, in April, in La Grange, Ill., which has a population of approximately 16,000 people.
The La Grange space, much of it previously a bank with two smaller stores behind that, stands on a corner of La Grange’s main shopping street, and is approximately 6,500 square feet. Like the other two Anderson’s Bookshop locations--in Naperville and Downers Grove--La Grange will be a full-service general bookstore with a large children’s section accounting for about 40% of overall inventory. The La Grange location will also have a selection of gifts and toys for sale. The new store will share receiving, buying, marketing, and publicity personnel with the other Anderson’s bookstores.
La Grange has been without a bookstore since 2011, when a Borders outlet there closed. That Borders, according to Becky Anderson, who owns Anderson’s with her two brothers, was a store with a “well-performing children’s section” that also drew customers from beyond La Grange.
“It left a void when it closed,” Anderson said. To that end, Anderson pointed to a recent community survey which disclosed that one of the things La Grange residents wanted most was a local bookstore. “They really missed that Borders.”
As for Anderson, she and her two brothers had been looking for a space in La Grange “for a while,” since it has “tons of restaurants, tons of shops, a fantastic business alliance, and no bookstore. We wanted to be in this downtown."
The new store’s interior and build-out are still being “figured out,” as “four or five spaces with hallways” have to be demolished and rebuilt into one large space to accommodate the new bookstore.
“It’s a great space,” Anderson noted. “It has a lot of windows for display, and great [street] frontage.”
Anderson’s, named PW Bookstore of the year in 2011, has seen sales up 9% at its flagship store, as of the end of November. At its second store, in Downers Grove, sales are up 4%.
Asked whether she and her brothers plan to expand their mini chain further into the Chicago suburbs, Anderson said the group has “received requests” from residents of various towns who want their own local bookstore. Nonetheless, Anderson said, she and her brothers will have to “see how this goes” before considering more expansion.