BRIDGEPORT — The former owners of Myopic Books have returned to Chicago to sell used books — this time, on the South Side.
Joe Judd and his wife, Lisa, opened Tangible Books this month at 3324 S. Halsted St. They sold Myopic Books in Wicker Park about 10 years ago and moved out of state, then to Charleston, Illinois.
When the couple decided to return to Chicago, well-wishers contributed nearly $9,000 to help cover the costs of relocating their central Illinois bookshop up north. Judd said they opened the Chicago shop’s doors to the community even though they are still making weekend trips to transport the rest of the books and bookcases to the city.
“When I realized that we had all the fiction and all the history and the science fiction and the art, that really kind of is a bookstore,” Judd said. “That’s your basics for a bookstore. And so, we just decided to be open.”
Business has been great, Judd said. Tangible Books has already received visits from Ald. Patrick Thompson (11th) and Rep. Theresa Mah. Customers regularly come into the shop to say how grateful they are to have a bookstore in the neighborhood, pursue the wares or donate titles, Judd said.
“My wife and I were talking, and I said it’s almost like opening a grocery store in a place that hasn’t had a grocery store in 40 years,” Judd said. “People are so thankful. They are so nice.”
The shop has several genres available. Tangible Books also sells books from local authors, with all of the proceeds going directly to the writers.
As Judd and his family are acclimating to Bridgeport, where they live only a few blocks from their store, customers already are giving them suggestions for what Tangible Books can be in the future.
“Some people would like to see poetry nights. Some people want to see music. But it’s all just really doing whatever the neighborhood wants, and it’s really a reflection of the neighborhood,” Judd said. “In a year from now, the whole place will be transformed because of the books that have come in. I can’t wait to see what kind of store it will be.”
Judd said once all of the family’s collection makes their way to the store — something he hopes can happen by the end of the month — he plans to have a grand opening party. The family is feeling buoyed by their decision to come back to Chicago, Judd said.
“One of the things I’ve found being here is that there’s a real cohesiveness to this neighborhood and that people are really happy and proud to be here,” Judd said.
“You get the feeling from this neighborhood that people can do anything — that if somebody wants a bookstore, they can do it; that if somebody wants to have an art gallery, they can do it. When you see that, you realize what a vibrant place it is, and if there’s anything we can add, that’s fine.”
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