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Wicker Park's Newest Book Store, Volumes, Is Bar/Cafe Hybrid

By Alisa Hauser | March 21, 2016 1:48pm
 Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Volumes Bookcafe
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WICKER PARK — Volumes Bookcafe, an independent book shop that will also sell coffee, pastries and eventually booze, is set to host a "soft opening" on Tuesday along Wicker Park's Milwaukee Avenue, its owners said.

"We're so excited to get this going and want to thank everyone for being patient. It doesn't feel real yet; we've had so many hiccups," co-owner Rebecca George said Monday.

The installation of a new HVAC system plus other repairs delayed the shop's opening by six months and prompted a crowdsourcing campaign, which raised $9,400 from 100 backers.

Owned by Rebecca George and her sister, Kimberly George, both Ukrainian Village residents, Volumes Bookcafe has replaced Recycle clothing store, 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave., which closed in 2013.

To date, the George sisters have brought on 13 full- and part-time workers, most with prior retail experience at other book stores, Kimberly George said.

The 2,000-square-foot shop, which specializes in new books across several genres, has 34 seats at a cafe in the front of the store. Lounging around options include comfy chairs, group-friendly tables or stools at a long counter.

In the back of the store, there is a cushioned reading nook for parents and children. Children's books from picture titles to the latest Young Adult novels, make up about one-fifth of the inventory, Kimberly George said.

The cafe will sell Metropolis Coffee and pastries from Dollop, as well as beer from local breweries and wine and brandy, though alcohol will likely not be ready to be served until late March or early April, said Rebecca George, citing a state license that is being finalized.

Croissants, cookies and other pastries from Hoosier Mama, which are available through Volumes Bookcafe's relationship with Chicago-based Dollop Coffee, will be on the menu by the end of March.

Rebecca George said Volumes Bookcafe's main emphasis is on new books but customers with used books to offload can bring their books in and will get store credit if the books are bought.

Once open, Volumes Bookcafe will join Myopic Books, a used book shop at 1564 N. Milwaukee Ave.;  Quimby's, 1854 W. North Ave.; Revolution Books, 1103 N. Ashland Ave.; and The Occult Bookstore, 1164 N. Milwaukee Ave. None of the existing shops have coffee or beer offered onsite.

"What we are providing can only help the literary community that is already here. If anything, we will complement each other. We also wanted a great deal more events than any of the nearest stores can provide. Especially the focus on children's events, which is definitely a big part of what we want to bring to the community," Rebecca George said last March after the shop's arrival was announced.

Currently there are no literary events scheduled. Rebecca George said a calendar for upcoming events will be added to the store's Facebook page soon.

Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave. Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday- Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Ph: 773-697-8066. 

A worker shelves books next to an adult coloring book display. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

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