Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Women & Children bookstore sold
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2014-07-16

This article shared 11 times since Wed Jul 16, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

      More Photos


A cornerstone in Chicago's feminist and LGBT communities dating back to 1979 is transitioning and preparing for a new, modern look.

Women & Children First Bookstore, based on Clark Street in Andersonville, has been sold by longtime owners/founders Linda Bubon and Ann Christophersen to two of their current employees, Lynn Mooney and Sarah Hollenbeck, the Windy City Times has learned exclusively.

The 3,500-square-foot bookstore was put up for sale last October, and the new owners were selected—from eight formal offers—in May. The nine-member staff learned of the new owners at a staff meeting July 1—and Mooney and Hollenbeck were given a round of applause when it was announced.

"It's been hard to keep a secret, [especially] since we really couldn't talk about it with anyone," Hollenbeck said with a smile on July 13, in the first public acknowledgement by any of the four that the store had in fact been sold.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

"The continuity of the legacy [of the store] is important, building on the foundation that is here," Mooney said.

"Women & Children First Bookstore has been a critical part of Chicago's feminist and LGBT communities since the day it opened," said Tracy Baim, Windy City Times' publisher. "They have hosted thousands of authors from all backgrounds, and supported many causes in the community through their individual efforts and via the bookstore. Ann and Linda are community treasures, and mentors to myself and so many other women who followed in their footsteps as business owners."

Bubon, 63, said she is not saying goodbye to the store. "I'm just saying goodbye to ownership," she said. "So much has happened to me in the last year—to change my perspective on life. I now see myself as more than just the owner of Women & Children First, more than what I've done all my life.

"I have been guided for more than 30 years by this mission and purpose to be a feminist activist, and I've lived out that mission [through Women & Children First]. But there are other ways for me to now live out that mission. And I'm excited about those possibilities."

Mooney, 52, who lives in West Rogers Park, has worked at Women & Children First for six years, and has 25 years experience in the publishing industry, most recently as a freelancer but before that on staff at several major publishers, including HarperCollins and McGraw-Hill. She is a New York native who has lived in Chicago for the past 20 years—and on June 25 converted her civil union to Marisa L'Heureux to a marriage. The two have been together for eight years, and L'Heureux also works in publishing.

Hollenbeck, 30, lives in Edgewater and has worked at Women & Children First since last September. She has worked at numerous bookstores for years and herself is a writer, mostly nonfiction. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Northwestern University, and her essays exploring sexuality, gender, disability, and the perception of self have appeared in various literary journals and blogs, including TriQuarterly, Dogwood, and In Our Words.

Hollenbeck also has worked at Independent Publishers Group and StoryStudio, as well as large, nationally known bookstores. She is active in Chicago's exploding live literary scene, regularly attending and performing at area shows. She got engaged to Andrew Marikis, an actor, in June.

Hollenbeck, a longtime shopper at Women & Children First, learned it was for sale about a month after she started working there—and admittedly was "kind of surprised," she said. "I wasn't aware that they were considering retiring."

Hollenbeck has long worked in the book world and wanted it to be her long-term career. But, she admitted, she never considered working at/in a bookstore to be a "real job."

"I just kept thinking that, at some point, I will find a real job and then my career will start," she said.

Mooney, meanwhile, was approached about two years ago by Bubon and Christophersen about possibly buying the store. "I thought about it very seriously at the time, but there were two things [standing] in the way for me—finances; I didn't have what I needed to do it alone; and also, I didn't feel like I had all of the pieces. I'm a book person, always been a book person. I'm detail-minded, driven. But, I am not a marketer; I am not an event planner; I am not a networker."

Last December, Hollenbeck approached Mooney about jointly pursuing the business when she too realized she couldn't do it alone.

"Lynn was an obvious partner because I think we complement each other really well," Hollenbeck said. "It just made sense to approach her, to see if she wanted to partner together."

Mooney said she was "thrilled" to be asked by Hollenbeck.

Bubon and Christophersen were very clear that they would only sell to someone who would keep the store going as Women & Children First—"because this is their legacy, their life's work, and they wanted to see it continue," Mooney said.

Hollenbeck said they applied and had numerous in-depth talks with Bubon and Christophersen, and a Florida-based professional bookstore management company hired by Bubon and Christophersen.

"It was never a given that we'd be the [new owners]. We hoped that working here would give us an advantage, but they looked and considered everyone," Mooney said.

The list of candidates was narrowed to three in March.

Mooney and Hollenbeck were told they were selected to succeed Bubon and Christophersen in May, and since have been negotiating terms, planning the transition, and more.

Mooney was promoted to manager about 18 months ago, thus works full-time and is involved with the book ordering. She will continue with most of the store's book ordering, managing the staff, displays, and more.

Hollenbeck will manage the store's publicity, events, programming, and non-book items, such as cards, t-shirts and coffee mugs.

"Our vision for the store really hinges on expanding the events and programming aspect," Hollenbeck said.

Both will work full-time going forward.

"When Ann and I first started talking about selling [the business], we immediately thought of Lynn," Bubon said. "I was impressed with Sarah since her first day [working at the store].

"Both are extraordinary book lovers, and they both have extensive book store experience, which Ann and I both felt was very important [for the next owners], plus a feminist commitment. "

Mooney said she is not sure yet if they will expand beyond the store's current staff size.

Women & Children First will undergo a store renovation next January and February, Mooney confirmed.

The store will, for the most part, be open during its remodeling and the construction of a new, comfortable, dedicated event space. Hollenbeck said if they need to close due to renovation, it shouldn't be for any more than two weeks.

"We believe that we need a dedicated event space," and that's something that is being added in the area that now houses the women's studies and LGBT books, Mooney said.

"We love author-readings, but often, they just attract fans of that particular writer, not new customers. We want to attract new customers," Hollenbeck said.

They are considering adding lecture series, support groups, additional storytelling and more. Plus, they will offer the renovated space for birthday parties and other social get-togethers.

With the new dedicated event space, there will be more events, both formal and informal, scheduled for Women & Children First, and they won't be restricted on days events can be held. Plus, the option for additional lectures, both author- and idea-driven, and more also will help combat the challenges from Amazon and other online sellers.

The location of the cash register also will moved closer to a wall, Hollenbeck said, "which should make it feel more spacious."

Also around the renovation in early 2015, a new Women & Children First logo will be unveiled—centered around the ampersand "as a symbol of inclusiveness, that this is a bookstore for everyone," Mooney said, .

Both of the new owners said they mostly plan to just "tweak" the content offered at Women & Children First. "I think the [book] collection here now is a really good model into the future," Mooney said. "The store, as it's evolved over the years, has been true to its feminist roots, but also has found a way to be a neighborhood bookstore."

Mooney said there likely will be more events featuring male writers and a push for more male customers.

Feminism also, naturally, will remain important, both said.

"We have an ongoing, serious conversation among staff about feminism, and the future of feminism, and what that looks like, and how it can evolve," Mooney said. That conversation about feminism also includes men, Hollenbeck said.

Mooney confirmed that they have had discussions about re-organizing the LGBT book section, particularly within the renovation. Thus, LGBT books will be meshed within all other books, offering a higher visibility.

Mooney also confirmed that they will keep the store's name, while acknowledging the challenges that the name presents.

"There are male shoppers in here all the time, so we've done a decent job on getting the word out," Mooney said.

They plan to remain at the current location 5233 N. Clark St., Mooney said. "This is the heart of Andersonville; we love it here," Hollenbeck added.

Hollenbeck said a "huge mission" of hers is to expand the offering of locally based writers. "We want to support local writers and we want to have permanent, local author display that is more [prominent] than what we have now," she said.

Both Bubon and Christophersen, 65, will have ongoing roles at the store. Bubon will remain active at the store, working two or three days per week for the next two years. Plus, she will continue her long-running, popular children's story time, and more. Christophersen will be a consultant, mostly on business-driven projects.

See related item at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/LETTERS-Women-Children-First-Gun-and-done/48335.html


This article shared 11 times since Wed Jul 16, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

StoryStudio Chicago's LGBTQ+ nonfiction writing class starting Aug. 17
2022-08-11
StoryStudio Chicago is offering a unique writing class titled "June Is Not Enough: An LGBTQ+ Nonfiction Writing Class." The idea behind the class is to promote and foster the work of LGBTQ+ people. Writers who register ...


Gay News

Sky lose historic game; Cubs fall; White Sox split
2022-08-10
In what was openly lesbian WNBA legend Sue Bird's final regular-season game against the Chicago Sky (25-9), things certainly were memorable for her and the Seattle Storm (21-13). The Storm defeated the Sky 111-100 at Wintrust ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Trailblazing lesbian activist Pat Norman dies
2022-08-09
Pat Norman, a trailblazing lesbian in San Francisco who became a "first" in some important city appointments, died Aug. 5 at an assisted living facility in Las Vegas, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Norman, born ...


Gay News

WCT co-founder Tracy Baim stepping down from The Chicago Reader
2022-08-09
The board of directors of the Reader Institute for Community Journalism (RICJ), publishers of the Chicago Reader, announced that Tracy Baim (who co-founded Windy City Times in 1985) is stepping down as president and publisher at ...


Gay News

Journalist Chuck Colbert passes away at 67
2022-08-08
Journalist Charles "Chuck" R. Colbert—who had written for several LGBTQ+ publications, including Windy City Times—passed away June 30. He was 67. He was a freelance journalist based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to his biography on ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Lesbian writer/activist Elana Dykewomon dies at 72
2022-08-08
Tributes have poured in following the death of Oakland-based esteemed lesbian writer/activist Elana Dykewomon, who passed away Aug. 7 at age 72, according to EuroWeekly. She received the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction in 1998 ...


Gay News

BOOKS Inside Sinkhole, a darkly comic coming-of-age fiction
2022-08-06
Davida G. Breier's debut book, Sinkhole, takes readers on a trip to rural Florida in the 1980s. Amidst golf courses, mobile homes and alligators, some things on the agenda: friendship, identity, sexuality, grief and murder. Breier ...


Gay News

Brittney Griner found guilty, sentenced to nine years
2022-08-04
On Aug. 4, a Russian court found out WNBA star Brittney Griner guilty of drug smuggling and possession charges—and sentenced her to nine years in prison. The widely expected verdict came after a monthlong trial ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame Announces 2022 Inductees
2022-08-03
--From a press release - The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, the only city-sanctioned LGBT Hall of Fame in the world, was founded in 1991 to honor Chicago's people and entities, nominated by the community, who have made significant contributions to ...


Gay News

HRC commends White House Monkeypox (MPV) Coordinator appointments; calls for greater federal response
2022-08-02
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, commended the Biden Administration for appointing Robert Fenton and ...


Gay News

Utah school district removes LGBTQ+ books from libraries
2022-08-02
A Utah school district removed 52 books from its library shelves due to parent complaints mainly concerning LGBTQ+-focused material, LGBTQ Nation noted. A spokesperson for Alpine School District tells The Salt Lake Tribune that the district ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Janan Lindley, wife of longtime activist/former bar owner Marge Summit
2022-08-01
Janan Lindley died in hospice at home with her wife, Marge Summit, by her side July 29 of cancer. She was 82. Lindley was born June 20, 1940 and was raised in New Orleans. She studied at Loop College and from ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Lesbian activist dies, school report, Robin Roberts, Joe Rogan
2022-07-31
Rita Addessa—a civil-rights activist and the first executive director of the Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Task Force (PLGTF, later the Pennsylvania Lesbian and Gay Task Force)—passed away July 9 at Penn Hospice in Philadelphia at age ...


Gay News

Lesbian fighter Amanda Nunes recaptures UFC title
2022-07-31
On July 30, Amanda Nunes—a Brazilian lesbian who's considered one of the best mixed martial-arts fighters of all time—recaptured the UFC women's bantamweight title from Julianna Pena in a match in Dallas' American Airlines Center, ES ...


Gay News

Biden reportedly offers arms dealer in exchange for Griner, Whelan
2022-07-27
After months of internal debate, the Biden administration has offered to exchange Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving a 25-year prison sentence in Illinois, as part of a potential deal ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.