Magic Tree Bookstore to close

Owner unable to find someone to take over kids bookstore

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

It's been a little over three years since Beth Albrecht bought Magic Tree Bookstore, 141 N. Oak Park Ave., but the bookseller announced on Sept. 20 that she's closing the store that caters primarily to young readers.

Albrecht could not immediately be reached for comment, but she said in a post online that she put a call out three months ago to anyone who might want to purchase the store.

"I've spoken to a good number of terrific people, but none were able, in the end, to take on the financial responsibility and time commitment it takes to keep this great old store alive," she wrote on the bookstore's Facebook page.

Oct. 21 is the store's last day, she wrote.

Albrecht purchased the store from co-owners Iris Yipp and Rose Joseph in 2015. The two founded the store in 1984.

In her departing message, Albrecht praised her staff and clientele.

"We've relished our relationships with members who've been shopping at the Magic Tree since its earliest years," Albrecht wrote. "We sipped tea with the Mad Hatter, fought boggarts and played quidditch at our Harry Potter summer camp (Slytherin won the house cup), and cheered teens sharing their lives at Slam Poetry night with Spoken Word from OPRF.

"We watched Maggie Stiefvater play the bagpipes surrounded by ghost pirates, listened to a panel of Chicago's top speculative fiction authors discuss magic and outerspace and literature, danced to live bands and sang Christmas carols with Pro Musica Youth Chorus."

She said that despite all the enthusiasm for reading "we just don't have enough people buying enough books to keep the store open."


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Reader Comments

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Christopher Goode from Oak Park  

Posted: September 24th, 2018 9:05 PM

It was a great bookstore. My kids spent a lot of time and got a lot of books from here as they grew from preschool to adulthood. It rode the Harry Potter series wave from beginning to end. It will be a serious loss to Oak Park. But you have to sell enough books to pay staff and rent. It is unfortunate that stores in general have become show rooms for things to be ordered from other purveyors online at a lesser price. That is not a sustainable business model. So long Magic Tree! We will sorely miss you!

Elisabeth Muhlenberg  

Posted: September 21st, 2018 4:38 PM

What a loss to the community! I bought all the gifts for my grandchildren there - but I only have five grandchildren. That doesn't keep a store alive, unfortunately.

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