BEVERLY — New and used books are quickly filling the shelves at Bookie's at 10324 S. Western Ave. in Beverly.
The bookstore moved Saturday to a combined storefront offering 2,000 square feet — more than double its previous footprint, owner Keith Lewis said Wednesday.
A former Chicago Public Schools teacher, Lewis took over the bookstore at 2419 W. 103rd St. in Beverly on Jan. 2, 2015. Larry Kroff opened the tiny shop there in 1989 where narrow aisles stacked from the floor to the ceiling with books were the norm.
The shelves at Bookie's at 10324 S. Western Ave. in Beverly were mostly full late Wednesday morning. Much of the merchandise was moved over from the previous store at 2419 W. 103rd St. [DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig]
The new storefront replaces both the shuttered Kiddie Kouture Boutique and Treadfit, a treadmill-focused gym that moved to 10458 S. Western Ave. last year. The new layout allows for more natural light, browsing among spacious aisles and even places to sit.
"I love it. I had been to the other store quite often. It was crowded, and there was always a lot of books to add to the shelves," said Mary Ann Furlong, a Morgan Park resident and a Bookie's regular for the last decade.
She said the idea of recycling books keeps her coming back. Indeed, the store will continue to offer discounts of up to 40 percent for customers who drop off their used books. But the new store will have a larger selection of new books, Lewis said.
"I am very pleased with the way things turned out," he said. "It's been almost universal positive feedback. [Customers] love the space in here."
This phone at Bookie's at 10324 S. Western Ave. in Beverly is designed to give readers suggestions on what to look for on the shelves of the bookstore. [DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig]
He expects to move remaining inventory from the previous location to the new store over the next couple weeks. The long-term plan is to transform the former storefront into a place for book signings, poetry readings and other literary and community events.
It will be called Bookies Annex and will debut after the new store is up and running smoothly, said Lewis, adding he plans to host a grand opening celebration on Western Avenue after a new awning arrives.
Bookie's has 17 shared parking spaces behind its new building, which is also home to Running Excels, McKey and Poague Real Estate Services and the Tooromeen School of Irish Dance. Customers also can enter from the west side of the building, which faces the parking lot.
Bookie's new store at 10324 S. Western Ave. in Beverly features significantly more natural light compared to its previous location. The shelves are also spread farther apart to give a more open, airy feel. [DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig]
And Lewis said he's not entirely done designing the new store. A mural made to look like Bilbo Baggins' front door from J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 novel "The Hobbit" was being painted on one wall Wednesday.
"I just want a fun space," said Lewis, a Beverly resident since 2004.