WICKER PARK — Volumes Bookcafe, a beloved indie bookstore and cafe, is closing its Milwaukee Avenue store.
Sisters Rebecca and Kimberly George told neighbors of their decision in an email Wednesday. The last day customers can browse the store at 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave. is Saturday.
Though they are closing their Wicker Park storefront, they plan to reopen in another location in the neighborhood. They are also maintaining their Downtown store at 900 N. Michigan Ave.
“This does not mean we are leaving you,” the Georges wrote. “We are still Volumes. We are still here. We will return to our beloved neighborhood in physical form sooner than you think. We are not going out of business, we are just closing a location.”
The past year saw “epic losses” and “endless business pivots” which influenced the George sisters’ decision not to renew their lease. They had been in business for five years.
“We are really proud of what we built at 1474,” the sisters wrote. “We spent a year physically building that space. We poured literal blood, sweat and tears into that space. We hand built every cafe table. We plastered and painted and put together nearly every inch. It is unbearably hard to let that all go.”
Before the pandemic, Volumes baristas served coffee, tea, beer and wine while neighbors co-worked, utilizing Volumes’ free WiFi, outlets and printer. But the pandemic halted that aspect of the business.
And, of course, Volumes was known for its selection of books. The George sisters, who live in Wicker Park, curated themed lists of book suggestions, with a children’s section at the back of the store. Shoppers could also pick up locally-made made art and gifts.
Over the years, the store was host to Settlers of Catan marathons, Pulitzer Prize-winning author events, open mics, book swaps, readings, community meetings, two weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, babies’ first steps and more.
“People call independent bookstores community spaces because that is what we are. A community. A family. You are a part of what we are. We are a part of you,” the George sisters wrote. “We have hundreds of author and celebrities sign on our walls, and literally tens of thousands of you have joined our loyalty program. We are proud of what we’ve done, and we have you all to thank for that. We can’t wait until we can open our doors to this community once again.”
Neighbors who’d like to lend a hand with final deliveries can sign up here. The store has also launched a GoFundMe campaign. For more updates, follow Volumes on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and the store’s website.
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