Around Indies

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Book Suey Opens in Michigan

Book Suey, a cooperatively owned independent bookstore, has opened in Hamtramck, Michigan. The store’s motto is “Contemplation. Conversation. Community.”

A post on the store’s Facebook page reads: “Why a bookshop? In in a time where we find ourselves more and more isolated, we (the Book Suey collective members) wanted to create a space that inspires folks to contemplate, converse, and gather as a community.”

The store is open from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and noon to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays. “Our launch was successful and we are now settling into more regular hours and taking the next steps to maintain excitement and keep people coming into the store,” bookseller Eric Anderson told Bookselling This Week.

Wheatberry Books Opens in Ohio

Chelsea Bruning cuts the ribbon with Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney while husband Matt holds the couple’s 3-year-old son Max.
Chelsea Bruning cuts the ribbon with Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney while husband, Matt, holds the couple’s 3-year-old son, Max.

Wheatberry Books of Chillicothe, Ohio, hosted a grand opening and ribbon-cutting on December 1. Co-owner Matt Bruning told Bookselling This Week that the store sells mostly new books and has a children’s room where there will be story time on Saturdays.

He said his wife, Chelsea Bruning, was the impetus for starting the store. “This bookstore is the brainchild of my wife,” he said. “She has always wanted to open a bookstore. Her love for reading started when she was young. It is a passion that she has passed on to our two boys.”

Located in a walkable area, Wheatberry gave a shout-out on Twitter to its neighbor, Paper City Coffee, for a supportive sidewalk chalkboard message.

“Chelsea wants this store to be a big part of our community,” Bruning said. “We are already planning several events in partnership with the local library. Chillicothe is a community that has seen a decline in the downtown in recent years. However, things are turning around. People are coming back and shops are opening. We wanted to be a part of that revitalization.”

Riffraff Opens in Rhode Island

Co-owners Tom Roberge and Emma Ramadan opened Riffraff, a bar and bookstore.
Co-owners Tom Roberge and Emma Ramadan opened Riffraff, a bar and bookstore.

Riffraff, a bookstore and bar, opened in Providence, Rhode Island, on December 5. Co-owners Tom Roberge and Emma Ramadan moved to the city in 2016 with a dream of opening a bookstore-bar combo.

Roberge has had a career in publishing and bookselling, including as a bookseller at McNally Jackson, managing editor at A Public Space, editor at Penguin Books, publicist and bookstore liaison at New Directions, and deputy director at Albertine Books.

Ramadan is a former Fulbright Scholar who has translated Moroccan writers from French into English. Her translations include Sphinx and Not One Day by Anne Garréta (Deep Vellum Publishing).

Riffraff’s opening was highlighted in a report published December 6 by The Boston Globe about the resurgence of independent bookstore retailing.

Books & Books Hosts Grand Opening for Latest Store

Books & Books held a grand opening for its new location in the Suniland Shops in Pinecrest, Florida, on December 3. Local author Dave Barry joined owner Mitchell Kaplan in welcoming customers with games, giveaways, and kids’ activities.

Books & Books is also planning a new location in Coconut Grove. In addition to its stores in Southeast Florida, Books & Books has satellite locations in Key West and the Cayman Islands.

Writer’s Block Bookstore Coming to Alaska

The Writer’s Block Bookstore and Café is opening in Anchorage, Alaska, in January in a space that once housed a porn shop but has been extensively renovated.

Co-owner Vered Mares told the Anchorage Daily News that the space will include a full-service restaurant as well as a small stage for readings and other events. The public can follow the construction process on the store’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

Virginia’s Historic New Dominion Bookshop Gets New Owner

Julia McCrea Kudravetz is the new owner of New Dominion Bookshop.
Julia McCrea Kudravetz is the new owner of New Dominion Bookshop.

Charlottesville’s New Dominion Bookshop, the oldest independent bookstore in Virginia, has a new owner. Following the sudden death of owner Carol Troxell in January, Julia McCrea Kudravetz, a native of Charlottesville, came onboard as manager in June and purchased the business in November.

Kudravetz’s connection to the store dates from 2016, when she began doing social media work for Troxell. With an MFA in poetry from Johns Hopkins, Kudravetz also co-founded the Charlottesville Reading Series at the Bridge and partnered with Troxell to provide the books.

“I had spoken to the owner, not very seriously, about someday buying the shop,” Kudravetz told Bookselling This Week. “When she passed away suddenly in January, I wrote to her husband and told him I was interested in purchasing it.”

Kudravetz, who has taught English at a high school and community college, said the literary end of the business has been easier than the business side. “There’s incredible goodwill for this place,” she said. “The community really supports this shop. It’s really unusual for a business to be around this long.”

Founded in 1924, the bookstore was owned by Troxell since the 1980s. Kudravetz’s ambition is to keep the bookstore attracting customers from kids up to retirees.

“I really want this to be one of the great bookshops in America,” Kudravetz said. I want it to be like a Parnassus Books or a Square Books. We’re a university town with a lot of very intellectual people, and I want there to be constant readings and events.”

The Daily Progress in Charlottesville recently profiled Kudravetz, who said she wants to carry on the shop’s traditions while moving forward with technological improvements. “The model of it being a good bookstore with knowledgeable employees that want to help you, that doesn’t need to change and shouldn’t change,” she told The Daily Progress.

Duende District Plans More Pop-Ups

Duende District in Washington, D.C., is planning to sell books as part of a pop-up museum designed by teenagers. The Museum of Contemporary American Teenagers, or MoCAT, in Bethesda, Maryland, is opening December 6 with exhibits, sculptures, and wall murals by and about teenagers, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Duende District founder and former Politics & Prose staffer Angela Maria Spring is running a number of pop-up bookstores in different communities while she decides where to open a permanent location. 

She is also hosting pop-ups in Crystal City, Arlington, on December 11, and at A Creative DC’s Brookland studio December 15-17.

She is also running two long-term pop-ups in Washington D.C., at MahoganyBooks at the Anacostia Arts Center and at Burmese eatery and bodega Toli Moli at Union Market.

Spring, a bookseller of Central and Latin American descent, aims to highlight books written by authors of color and connect with an audience of people of color, though all are welcome.

Crystal Books and Gifts Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Crystal Books and Gifts of Grand Junction, Colorado, is marking 30 years in business this year. To celebrate, Crystal Books and Gifts posted an invite on Facebook asking customers to stop in on Small Business Saturday for free drawings and giveaways. The store gave away six $50 gift certificates and two Kobo Glo Readers valued at $129 each.

Customers also received advance reading copies of books with any purchase, while supplies lasted. Customers who signed up for the store’s e-mail list  received 30 percent off a purchase of $100 or more.