Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sandmeyer's Bookstore - Chicago, IL

Sandmeyer's Bookstore - Chicago, IL

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If you want a relaxing, laid-back, blood pressure-lowering, bookstore experience, you need to visit this independent bookstore.  Located in a historical building in the south loop of Chicago's Printer's Row district, you'll feel your blood pressure drop the minute you walk in.  On the day of my visit, the classical music playing in the background added to the ambiance and the warm feeling within the store.  As you browse the books, you'll hear the old wooden floor creaking under your feet.  You won't be fooled into thinking this is anything other than a simple, but amazing, independent bookstore.

Founded in 1982 by Ellen S. and her husband, this is what I call a "mom and pop" store.  Nothing big business here.  A one-level store with a quiet and relaxing atmosphere.  The books are neatly arranged and well-organized.  There are a few sidelines here including greeting cards, boxed sets of cards, music CDs, and some unique magnets, to name a few.  There is a small children's section and on the day of my visit, a nice display of seasonal children's' books near the entrance.  They don't do too many author events in the store since the Harold Washington Chicago Public Library is very close and many events are hosted there.

You can't sustain any business since 1982 without doing some things right.  This place is a bookstore survivor and it has succeeded partly because of its great location and a wide and varied customer base. They have a good nucleus of neighborhood customers but they also attract customers from all over the country and all around the world.  Customers interested in Chicago historical buildings and the history of book printing will particularly enjoy visiting this bookstore and this part of the city.

I was able to chat briefly with Ellen S., the owner, who told me a bit about the store, all on a very busy day and time of year.  When visiting here you'll be able to find some on-street parking or nearby public lots, but you will need to pay.  In large cities, I always encourage the use of public transportation which makes these destinations much easier to get to.

I've given you other Chicago area bookstores to visit and now you have one more to add to your list.  Check out this wonderful bookstore in the south loop and be prepared to spend some time.  You won't want to leave.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Revenant, Michael Punke.  Based on true events about a fur explorer in the early 1800s who is mauled by a grizzly, left for dead, then has to find a way to survive in the wilderness against the elements and hostile Indians.  You have to read it to believe it.  I loved this one.

CURRENTLY READING:  Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier In Hitler's Army, Georg Rauch.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Holy Cow, David Duchovny.

You can get an idea from this picture of the historical building that houses Sandmeyer's Bookstore.  

Historic plague recognizing the building and its origins.  

Looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the left from the front entrance.  

A timely display of children's books located in the front of the store.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  You can find individual cards and boxed sets.  

A nice area for the new releases.  

A portion of the children's section in the back of the store.  

View from the back of the store looking toward the front.  

CDs are among some of the sidelines available.  

Take your time and try out a book.  

Many indies are involved with social causes in their communities, as Sandmeyer's is here in Chicago.

With Ellen S., the fine owner at Sandmeyer's.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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