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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

New Owners To Take Over Pilsen Community Bookstore Next Year

Veteran booksellers Katharine Solheim, Mandy Medley and Thomas Flynn plan to build on the former owners' "great work and make the store our own.”

Pilsen Community Books, a bookstore in Pilsen, has new owners.
Mauricio Peña/ Block Club Chicago
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PILSEN — A trio of veteran booksellers are set to take over Pilsen Community Books next year.

Owners Mary Gibbons and Aaron Lippelt announced Tuesday they had sold the bookstore at 1102 W. 18th St. to Katharine Solheim, Mandy Medley and Thomas Flynn. The three will officially take over the store in March 2020. 

Gibbons and Lippelt announced plans to sell this past summer to focus on their second bookstore, The Dial at 410 S. Michigan Ave.

There were many capable buyers, the pair said, but Solheim, Medley and Flynn were “the right people for the job.”

“Their passion for and experience with bookselling, their commitment to community-building, and their desire to build a sustainable business were undeniable,” the pair wrote in a statement. 

RELATED: Pilsen Community Books Owners Plan To Sell Shop, Potential Buyer On The Horizon

“We feel confident that they will not only retain the spirit of what we’ve started, but they’ll also be able to improve upon it,” they said.

Solheim, Medley and Flynn have 41 combined years of experience working at bookstores across Chicago including Unabridged Bookstore, Volumes Bookcase and Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

The trio said they plan to continue building upon “Aaron and Mary’s great work and make the store our own.”

Gibbons and Lippelt opened Pilsen Community Books in February 2016. Less than two years later, the alums of literacy nonprofit Open Books Pilsen opened The Dial.

Ahead of opening the Pilsen bookstore in 2016, Gibbons and Lippelt operated in a warehouse in the Fountain Head Lofts on Halsted, where the pair would invite the community in once a month to browse their collection during Pilsen’s 2nd Fridays’ art walks.

Credit: Stephanie Lulay/DNAinfo
Mary Gibbons (pictured) and business partner Aaron Lippelt are selling Pilsen Community Books, a new bookstore, at 1102 W. 18th St. in Pilsen.

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