Magic Tree bookstore for sale

Children's bookstore owners aim to sell shop after 30 years in business

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

When Rose Joseph, co-owner of Magic Tree Bookstore on Oak Park Avenue, goes on vacation or travels to a city she's never been, she always looks to see if there is a bookstore.

She says that more and more these days the public library or websites are the only places in many cities to find a good old-fashioned book. She hears the same thing from customers who come into her store.

"We have a lot of visitors who come in, especially in the summer, and say it's sad they don't have a bookstore," she said.

Joseph and her longtime partner Iris Yipp are working to sell their shop, located at 141 N. Oak Park Ave. Magic Tree carries children's, young adult and select adult titles.

"I hate to think we'd have to close; Oak Park without another bookstore would be unfortunate," she said, if they can't find a new owner.

Joseph said she and Yipp put the store on the market a couple of weeks ago and already have interest from a prospective buyer. She and Yipp are selling the 1,600-square-foot store because they're both planning to retire.

"I'm at the age where I really do want to spend time traveling and with my grandchildren," she said.

Joseph said she and Yipp are waiting to see what kind of response they get on the sale of the store. They're hoping to find a new owner by the end of the year, "but we're not making it a hard and fast deadline."

"There is a niche aspect to a small independent bookstore that makes a community unique, and you want to keep that," she said. "We love the book business, and we don't make huge amounts of money on it, but we are profitable and we run a pretty good, tight ship, so I think people should know that."

The bookstore was recently awarded a $6,500 grant from young adult author James Patterson, who committed to give $1 million of his own money to independent bookstores.


Reader Comments

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Terry Bradford  

Posted: July 4th, 2014 10:37 PM

I remember when the Magic Tree had their original store on Madison St. The store is a treasure of books, crafts, cards and gifts. It is unique in the area and hopefully will continue to serve the Oak Park community. Three cheers for Rose and Iris who are my former neighbors and are dear friends - they have an incredible store and are an asset to the Oak Park community. Here's hoping a new buyer will share their vision and continue its mission.

Debby Preiser from River Forest  

Posted: July 3rd, 2014 10:58 AM

Iris and Rose certainly deserve to retire after providing a world of books, authors and special events for children here for more than 30 years. Joseph Preiser is 31 years old today -- I still remember fondly taking him to story hours at Magic Tree on Madison Street! Best wishes on finding a new dedicated owner for your beloved book store.

June from Oak Park  

Posted: July 3rd, 2014 9:32 AM

I'll always remember their commitment to their community & to the Ave Business District. I'll never forget all the work that went into planning the Harry Potter events!!! Congrats to Rose & Iris on your retirement


Posted: July 3rd, 2014 8:08 AM

Very happy for Rose and Iris. They've worked tirelessly at this store and it is a gem for the community. Hope they get a new buyer and that person continues the tradition. Thank you Rose and Iris!

Dave from Oak Park  

Posted: July 2nd, 2014 11:33 PM

I understand that they can't run the store forever, but I sincerely hope they find a buyer who loves books and children as much as they do to keep the place going. We are enjoying making memories there with my daughter and son. It would be tragic for OP to lose this gem.

Maryanne Rusinak from Oak Park  

Posted: July 2nd, 2014 11:06 PM

I too am a customer who spans the years of my own children going to Magic Tree to now buying books for my grandchild. It is a lovely, caring place. I don't ever want it to leave.

Not Confusing  

Posted: July 2nd, 2014 10:56 PM

They received a grant for the store. Just because they are selling it doesn't mean they can't continue to invest in and run the store, and I'm sure the grant money is/was being put to good use making the store even better. Nothing "confusing" about it.

kathryn jonas from oak park  

Posted: July 2nd, 2014 7:28 PM

The Magic Tree Bookstore holds many good memories for my daughter and me. We first starting visiting when it was on Madison St. Let's hope this magical place continues for Oak Park children. Thanks so much Rose and Iris.

Karen Rafter from Oak Park  

Posted: July 2nd, 2014 6:40 PM

Magic Tree has contributed so very much to the cultural and social life of the Village, that I hate to think of it changing hands! Thank you to Ms. Joseph and Ms. Yipp for all their help, input, and special orders that have enriched the lives of my children and grandchildren. Good Luck in finding the best buyer, and in your retirement!

Sheryl Oder from Oak Park  

Posted: July 2nd, 2014 6:29 PM

This is confusing because they recently accepted some money for their store from a children's author.

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