Rose Joseph and I co-founded Magic Tree Bookstore in 1984. Our little storefront was located between a barber shop and state Senator Phil Rock’s office on Madison Street. When A Child’s Place closed on Oak Park Avenue, we hauled everything over there with the help of many book lovers. Over the years, we were happy to recommend books, host tons of events, deliver bookfairs (great for building muscles!) and participate in community events. 

In 2015, after almost 31 years in business, we sold the store and hoped it would thrive for many years. However, the current owner announced her desire to sell Magic Tree on Facebook in May. There was no mention of this in the local papers. When we were selling the store, we had articles in the papers which did indeed attract some potential buyers. In my opinion, she really hasn’t given the shop a strong chance to be sold. Now the owner expressed her intent to close this 34-year-old institution dedicated to introducing children to the love and fun of reading.

I would hope that Beth Albrecht, the current owner, would show some flexibility in sale price and dates for Magic Tree’s future. It took us years to find a buyer, not months. This isn’t just about another retail store. This is a reading community, as evidenced by their recent financial support of The Book Table’s expansion. This community needs a children-oriented bookstore. This community needs someone who can reach out to schools. This community needs people who care enough to operate a local business that nurtures young minds in a fun environment.

Isn’t there someone who has the dedication and will to take the reins of Magic Tree Bookstore?

Iris Yipp

Co-founder of Magic Tree Bookstore

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