Bookstore booze to be tested

October 30, 2008
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According to the Western Michigan Business Review, Schuler Books and Music in Grand Rapids (an outstanding locally owned chain) is looking to go beyond the cafe-and-sweet-treats ammenities that have become stapes in bookshops.

The downtown store has applied for a liquor license. Read the story here

A smart business move to bump up evening and weekend business? Or another sign of the decline of western civilization?

Would you be more likely to stop into BN, Borders, Big Hat Books or The Mystery Company if you could have a beer or glass of wine while trolling the shelves?

Your thoughts?
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  • That would be so dangerous for me. I have a hard enough time NOT spending money in a bookstore. I can only imagine that alcohol would cause me to spend more. Perhaps that is what they are aiming for!

    For me I just see this as a hassle for them, with worrying about underage drinkers, fake licenses, and people who would think it's entertaining to get drunk at the local bookstore. (I'm sure they exist). Then add the addition cost of insurance for liability coverage, etc etc. I don't think it's worth it, personally.

    And I much prefer tea when strolling through the aisles!
  • Hmm. Well, it wouldn't make me go to a store that I hadn't already been planning to visit, and I agree with Chantal that it will make all kinds of extra hassles for the store.

    On the other hand, if the store owners are willing, why not try it? According to the article you cited, Lou, it seems to fit the new ambiance of that area of Grand Rapids.

    Completely off topic, but are you (Lou) a Phillies fan since you lived in Philadelphia for so long? If so, congrats on winning the World Series last night! I am a Rays fan, and I am proud of them for making it to the Series and fighting as long as they did, but it was fun to see the JOY in the Phillies players and fans, too.

    Hope Baugh
    www.IndyTheatreHabit.com
  • As a recent graduate from IU, I commend places like the College Bookstore, which is nothing more than an adult novelty shop with a clever name. Targeting an eclectic mix of customers in most cases (extreme excluded) ideally will yield more visits, and thus, more sales.

    Although I don't think too many underage drinkers will be lining up outside Shuler's for their Books & Beers or Spines & Wines happy-hours, I agree with Chantal that drinking and reading could pose a problem. Who knows how many more crimes will be associated with copies of Catcher in the Rye now that you can be turned to J.D. Salinger and Robert Mondavi at the same time (Irish Car Bomb, anyone?)...

    ...Or, how many patrons would have to be awoken at closing time with a Screwdriver in hand and Moby Dick in their lap (no pun intended)?
  • Hope,
    Even though I spent my formative years at Temple University and working at Philadelphia Magazine (and a long-gone mag called Seven Arts), I didn't follow local sports that much.
    But because my mother-in-law reads this blog occassionally, I'll say, yes, I am a Phillies fan.
    I am also a huge fan of:
    --Philadelphia cheesesteaks (and, no, they don't come with green pepper on them).
    --A Philly/Jersey confection known as Water Ice. Kind of like Italian ice, only not. Someone could make a killing here by bringing water ice to the Monon.
    --Philadelphia's Arden Theatre Company (www.ardentheatre.org), an amazing group whose rise should give hope to anyone starting up a new company. I first saw--and wrote about it--when it's founders were borrowing space from the big guy in town, the Walnut Street Theatre. Since then, it's grown to a multi-million-dollar operation with a beautiful space in Olde City. I have very fond memories of that first production, a joyful As You LIke It, as well as a stunning Talley's Folly, a very fun Godspell and a lot more. In hindsight, I'm kicking myself for having missed half of Arden's productions and I hope to get the chance to see what it's been up to lately.
    --The Philadelphia Theatre Company (http://www.philadelphiatheatrecompany.org), where I was honored to be at the World Premiere of Terrence McNally's Master Class. The company is in a bigger space now, but at the time it was housed in the small Plays and Players Theatre. Nothing like seeing Zoe Caldwell and Audra McDonald raise that particular roof. Amazing. As I write this, McNally is back in Philly giving a first look at his new play, Unusual Acts of Devotion with Richard Thomas and Faith Prince.
    --Of course, the Philadelphia Orchestra isn't shabby either. Nor is the Franklin Insistitute or the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
    See, you've got me nostalgic.
    Perhaps I'll schedule a trip back to Philly at some point this winter and give all of you a report.
    --Lou
  • I would love that, Lou! I visited Philly earlier this year on business related to my day job and wished I had more time to explore the Philly arts scene. There seemed to be a lot of interesting theatre, especially, going on.

    Hope Baugh
    www.IndyTheatreHabit.com
  • YES....
  • Schuler's is a great bookstore! I actually worked with them at my previous job. However, I think the liquor license is an interesting idea for them, or any bookstore for that matter. I could see them hosting fancy book release parties or other events where serving alcohol would be nice, but I'm not sure it'll do much to increase traffic. To be honest, it may even hurt business a bit, Schuler's stores are in West Michigan (Grand Rapids, Lansing, etc) and that's a pretty conservative area of the state.

    I guess time will tell if this decision works out for them.

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