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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Volumes Bookcafe Opens Wicker Park Pop-Up While Plotting Permanent Return To Neighborhood

The beloved bookstore is returning to Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park this month "so that we can be here for everyone for the holidays," one of the co-owners said.

Volumes Bookcafe's holiday pop-up location at 1373 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park
Quinn Myers/Block Club Chicago
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WICKER PARK — Volumes Bookcafe is opening a holiday pop-up shop in Wicker Park.

The pop-up at 1373 N. Milwaukee Ave. is operating about a block south of the original Volumes location, which closed in March.

At the time of the closure, owners Rebecca and Kimberly George vowed to return to the neighborhood. They later started a fundraising effort to help secure a space. Rebecca George said the store is under contract for a permanent Wicker Park storefront, and they will have more details to share soon.

In the meantime, Volumes has been operating online and out of its Downtown location at 900 N. Michigan Ave.

The owners have also housed pickup orders at Reckless Records’ Wicker Park location, 1379 N. Milwaukee Ave. But as orders spiked this fall, Rebecca George said they needed more space to accommodate the influx.

“It was one thing when we had one or two boxes, but it was getting out of control,” George said. Volumes rented out the nearby storefront “so that we can be here for everyone for the holidays.”

The store is open noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday and will carry “what we think the really great gift-y stuff [is]: our bestsellers from the past year, great cookbooks and then lots of stocking stuffers and ornaments,” George said.

The pop-up opens as the publishing industry, like many others, is experiencing supply chain delays.

George said if shoppers want to get their hands on a bestseller, they should order online or stop by in person today — or, better yet, “yesterday.”

“There are some publishers we can’t even order direct from anymore,” George said. “Already, things are slow. I can see the warehouses dwindling in stock on some things, which is making me very nervous. Once some of these things are gone in the next week or so, they’re going to be gone until next year.”

To combat the slowdown and ensuing delays, George said the store is considering reviving its “IOU” cards, which it offered last year in the midst of the pandemic.

“People can purchase the book for their person and give them this card that will say, ‘Hey, this year also sucks, but I bought you this awesome thing. You’ll just have to wait a week or two after Christmas to get it,'” George said.

Volumes is the latest bookstore to open a pop-up in the West Town area this holiday season.

Open Books launched a temporary West Town location on Chicago Avenue earlier this month, and Semicolon Books opened an all-used bookstore at its original location in River West on Black Friday.

For George, returning to Wicker Park has provided a a chance to reconnect with the community Volumes nurtured for years at its original location up the street.

“All the people who came in this weekend, 90 percent of them are people I’ve come to know, either really well or just a little bit, but just hearing those names again was great; it feels great,” George said.

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