WICKER PARK — Volumes Bookcafe is gearing up for a comeback in Wicker Park.
Sisters and co-owners Rebecca and Kimberly George closed their Milwaukee Avenue storefront last year as the pandemic was gripping Chicago. Now, they’ve found another building in the neighborhood and have launched a GoFundMe to buy what could be the new home for the bookstore.
“We just decided, instead of hinting at what we were doing, we were like, ‘Let’s just lay it out there and see what people think,’” Rebecca George said. “Because everyone wants us back. Right? It’s just, we need to be honest that we’re so close. But we need some help getting over that last hump to make it happen.”
In March, the Georges made the tough decision to close their 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave. store after the building was sold, their lease ran out and they couldn’t work out an agreement. The sisters have maintained their Downtown store at 900 N. Michigan Ave.
George said they have several investors funding a permanent location, but any money collected through the GoFundMe would give them a much-needed boost.
With a building of their own, the Georges would be able expand the store and host birthday parties, small weddings and community events. It also would give them an opportunity to really lay down roots in the neighborhood where they opened in 2016.
“There’s a permanence to that, right? That means, ‘Look, we’re here to stay,’” George said.
The GoFundMe has raised more than $8,000 as of Monday. George said she and her sister are grateful for all of the support.
“We love these people, and I can see who’s donating to and they’re all names I know for the most part,” George said. “Then there are names I don’t know, and that makes me cry. But especially seeing the people who have been so supportive of us in the past with things. They’re sending us another 50 bucks and you just want to hug them until the end of time. So, yeah, it’s been emotional.”
George said they are excited about the future and don’t regret the decision to try something new, but reminiscing on the old space is bittersweet.
“We built so much of that ourselves by hand,” George said, tearing up. “We created a warm, inviting space for people to do a number of things. And I think people definitely responded to that. And we’re equally upset that we’re letting it go. I mean, people got married there. People got engaged there. People had first dates or, you know, watched their kid walk for the first time. That space had so many things. So, can we recreate that? I think so.”
Next steps for the owners include actually buying the building and overhauling it. George said they already have much of the equipment, materials and merchandise they need, so she thinks they might only need two months to get the store ready once they close on the building.
She hopes they can have it fully built out and operational by the 2021 holiday season.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.