Grand Rapids mall saves and will expand The Village Bookstore

Published 8:58 am Wednesday, July 27, 2016

GRAND RAPIDS — When a 73-year-old bookstore owner decided it was time to close up shop, a Grand Rapids mall couldn’t bear to see the beloved store go, so it stepped in.

Now, to the relief of loyal customers, The Village Bookstore is being expanded. The move comes at a time when other stores shuttered due to tough economic times on the Iron Range and changes in consumer shopping habits.

Central Square Mall bought The Village Bookstore from longtime owner Mike McGinnis on July 1, according to a press release. The mall plans to expand the space, enlarge the children’s book section and sell gifts such as kitchenware to go with cookbooks. The hope is that these items will make the store more financially viable.

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McGinnis ran the store for 36 years, serving generations of locals and tourists. Central Square manager Jean Healy said The Village Bookstore is one of the mall’s most beloved, and after losing several other tenants, she didn’t want to see it go.

McGinnis said the book business was hit hard by the economic downturn and the rise of online shopping.

“It slowed during the recession, because it hit the tourist industry and the home-building industry, and now there’s the mining industry slump,” he said.

He said customers have told him they are relieved.

“We’ve found we could fill a niche for the community, as well as the tourists. They’d come in time after time and say, ‘Boy, we’re surprised to see a bookstore like this in a small town,’” McGinnis said.

The name of the store is being updated to The Village Bookstore & Gifts.