ANDERSONVILLE — The owners of bookstore Women and Children First are selling the Andersonville staple — but promise that whoever buys it will maintain the store's feminist focus and ensure it stays independently owned.
Co-owner Ann Christopherson, former president of the American Booksellers Association, said selling the store is something she and her business partner, Linda Bubon, began thinking about last year — around the time Christopherson turned 64.
"That time has come," Christopherson said.
The owners "want and intend to sell the store to a person who wants to carry on the focus and the work that the bookstore does now," she said.
"We're going to talk carefully with people who are interested in buying it," Christopherson said. "We feel that what the store needs now is some younger people who haven't been in the bookstore as we have for about 34 years now, who will bring freshness, energy and new good ideas."
She promised they would "absolutely" only sell the store "to someone who wants to keep it independent."
Women and Children First, 5233 N. Clark St., has changed locations a few times since it opened in 1979. The co-owners were both academics in English literature and book lovers who decided they weren't going to get doctorate degrees and teach. They started talking about opening a book store that would make "a useful contribution to the world of books and to the feminist movement," Christopherson said.
People have expressed interest in buying the store, but there's nothing's set in stone. The owners have several upcoming meetings related to the store.
"I know it will be a difficult transition for me in some ways, emotionally, because we've nurtured this business for many years. It's hard to step away from something that you've had that intimate a relationship with," Christopherson said. "I think those feelings will probably be more acute when the reality sets in, that is, when there's a buyer that we've made a deal with."
When the deal is done and she finds herself with a lot more free time on her hands, the Rogers Park resident said she has a very long to-do list to tackle.
Christopherson plans "to participate in different ways in the culture of the city," and in Chicago's communities, she said. She wants to learn more about Chicago history, frequent more art shows and museums, and "spend time in Chicago neighborhoods I haven't been able to spend the time at," she said.
She also looks forward to traveling and spending time with family and friends, she said.