BEVERLY — Bookie's, a new and used bookstore, will more than double its retail space with a move to a combined storefront at 10324 S. Western Ave. in Beverly.
Owner Keith Lewis expects the 2,800-square-foot shop to open around June 7 and plans to convert his existing store at 2419 W. 103rd St. to a venue for book signings, book clubs and more.
"This is a necessary expansion to give me more room. I need more space to be able to display my books and merchandise," Lewis said Monday.
Lewis said the actual retail space in his new store will be closer to 2,000 square feet, which is huge compared to his current 900-square-foot store that relies on narrow aisles and books stacked almost to the ceiling.
The new location will have more of an open and airy feel, with areas for children's story time and comfy chairs for adults to flip through the pages of books they are considering buying.
"I always had it in mind that we would be a destination bookstore," said Lewis, a Beverly resident since 2004.
He seemed equally excited to reinvent his current store, which he's calling Bookie's Annex. He envisions it also being used for children's book fairs, game nights, community meetings and other events. The goal is to further connect the store to neighborhood.
"I've already got a couple of potential book signings lined up," he said. "Amazon has cut into the business quite a bit, and we need to strike back."
The concept of the store will remain the same. Customers will still be able to drop off their used books in exchange for discounts of up to 40 percent on anything they buy. But Lewis said he plans to dedicate a larger portion of the new store to new books.
He said the shelves of his store are now about 75 percent stocked with used books. That will change to about 50 percent at the new store, said Lewis, who is counting on an increase in business with the larger, more visible storefront.
"The expansion is an effort to increase the business," he said. "I don't have room for all the new books."
A former Chicago Public Schools teacher, Lewis took over the bookstore Jan. 2, 2015. Larry Kroff opened Bookie's in 1989. Lewis said sales have been largely steady since he's taken over, and the best way to increase business is to increase the size of his shop.
"It's so tight in here," he said.