Denver’s BookBar, the bookstore and wine bar founded by Nicole Sullivan in 2013, has purchased The Bookies, another Denver bookstore that has been in business for 50 years. After the death this past summer of its founding owner, Sue Lubeck, her family put the store on the market. The Bookies, a children’s bookstore, is well known for its large selection of books, educational products, and toys, as well as for its extensive programming.
“We weren’t seeking to purchasing another bookstore or even contemplating a second BookBar location,” stated Sullivan in a release. “But I couldn’t bear the possibility of Denver losing such an iconic bookstore.” The Bookies will keep its name, and Sullivan said that there are no plans to open a wine bar on its premises.
The two stores will be reincorporated as a public benefit corporation, the first step towards their becoming a certified B corporation with its core mission being literacy. Sullivan also plans to integrate The Bookies into BookBar’s nonprofit arm, BookGive. BookBar donates 10% of all book sales and 100% of VIP membership dues to BookGive, which distributes gently used books to people in need throughout the Denver metro area. It has collected and donated to date 70,000 books.
BookBar is also undergoing changes designed to expand its customer base and encourage customers to linger. Already known for its programming, a two- story event and gallery space is being built behind the 2,300-square-foot original building to better accommodate large events and Jonah Kaplan, the son of Mitch Kaplan, the owner of Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla. has been hired as BookBar’s new bar manager. He will be overseeing the expansion of the wine bar, which recently updated its menu and obtained a full liquor license.