Two Minneapolis indie bookstores on the city blocks most torn apart by the protests on Wednesday evening that continued into the early morning hours on Thursday have so far escaped unscathed, although buildings adjacent to both were vandalized and, in Moon Palace’s case, torched. Despite a lack of physical damage to either store, the riots have affected operations at both, including Magers & Quinn Booksellers' planned reopening.
Moon Palace Books is less than half a block from the Minneapolis Police Department’s third precinct, the epicenter of Wednesday evening’s rioting in reaction to the Monday evening murder by police of an unarmed African American man, George Floyd. According to co-owner Angela Schwesnedl, despite the growing tensions between police and protesters since Monday evening and having to fend off repeated attempts by police to “militarize” the store’s parking lot, staff inside the store continued filling orders for shipment. (Moon Palace does not offer curbside pickup.) When police in riot gear started lobbing tear gas canisters at the crowd Wednesday evening, however, Schwesnedl, who was watching a virtual PRH rep night presentation, ordered her staff to go home and stay away until further notice.
“People are more important than property,” she said, noting that “people in the community” who knew the store’s reputation “were protecting the store and the building” during the riot. She told PW that Moon Palace, which lost power for a few hours Thursday morning, will resume shipping orders to customers after the post office across the street reopens—which may not be, she said, “for a few days.”
Less than four miles away, in the trendy Uptown neighborhood to which the riot spread, Magers & Quinn was one of the few retailers on its block, which includes an Apple store, that was not broken into Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, the store canceled its previously scheduled afternoon opening allowing for limited-capacity customer browsing. It has not, as of press time, scheduled a new opening date. While Magers & Quinn remains closed to customer traffic until further notice and has paused curbside pickup for now, it is continuing to take orders by phone and online for shipping.