Ten days before Independent Bookstore Day, two upstart Minnesota bookstores have made public their plans to expand. Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis, which was founded in 2012, is expanding for a second time, and Content Books in Northfield, founded in 2014, is jumping from 1,300 square feet to 1,800 square feet.
This fall, Moon Palace will relocate from a 1,700-square-foot space to a 3,300-square-foot space at a major intersection, Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue. The new location is two blocks away from its current location in South Minneapolis.
The new space will include a 2,400-square-foot retail area with a 25-seat café, and a separate 900-square-foot event space. Last July, Moon Palace expanded from a 900-square-foot space in the back of its building to its current space in the front of the building. Despite construction outside the store at the time, sales immediately spiked by 30% after its first expansion. By the end of the year, revenues were double the previous year, exceeding the store’s projections.
“Part of that is being in a larger space and part of it was a mild winter,” Moon Palace’s co-owner, Angela Schwesnedl told PW. She disclosed that she and the store’s co-owner, Jamie Schwesnedl, had planned the move to Lake and Minnehaha even before the move last summer from their original space.
Content Books, which was opened by Jessica Peterson White, is expanding by 30%. Content will officially open in its new space, across the hall from its current space, on April 29, which is Independent Bookstore Day. The historic building housing Content used to be a department store. Content will beef up its events programming after the move, but the number of employees, one full-time and five part-time, will stay the same.
“When we opened the shop, we knew this was a community that would enthusiastically support an indie bookstore," White said, “We didn’t quite know how enthusiastic our customers would be.” Content, which was previously known as Monkey See, Monkey Read, is, according to White, the "main indie" in Northfield; she noted that Barnes & Noble cut back on trade titles after taking over Carlton College’s bookstore, and St. Olaf College’s bookstore has always had a limited selection of trade titles.