Monday, January 9, 2017

Women & Children First Books - Chicago, IL

Women & Children First Books, Chicago, IL
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I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when visiting Women & Children First in Chicago.  What I knew beforehand was that it is a locally and nationally renowned independent bookstore.  As Jamie, the store manager told me, it's a destination for many customers.  I also knew that it came highly recommended to me by other booksellers and owners at previously visited bookstores.  But I didn't know if the store would appeal to people with interests outside of women, feminists, and children.  As with EVERY bookstore I've visited, any doubts melted away the minute I entered the store.  Women & Children First remains true to its origins by offering an inventory of women's, feminist, and children's authors and issues.  But you'll also find a great selection of recent bestsellers, popular general fiction, and a wide array of sidelines.  All of this and a pleasant atmosphere with a very friendly and welcoming staff.  In short, all the things that make this a successful and recognized independent bookstore.  

When this indie opened in 1979, part of its original mission was to bring books written by women to prominence.  As Sarah, the co-owner told me, believe it or not back in 1979 books by female authors weren't readily available.  Women & Children First helped to change that along with many other things, thanks to the vision of the original owners.  Now, the store carries just about anything and if they don't have it they can get it.  They have a great variety of sidelines and like many other indies, the greeting cards and journals are huge sellers.  They've been in their current location since 1990, a very visible corner lot and an anchor business on very busy Clark St. in the Andersonville neighborhood.  The store enjoys a large, local customer base and as Sarah told me, they're enjoying the same resurgence other bookstores are experiencing and things are going very well here.

When you visit Women & Children First you will have a terrific time meeting any of the staff.  In addition to co-owning, Sarah also handles events and the sidelines.  She, along with Jamie, the store manager and Molly, one of the staffers, as well as the others were fantastic.  I've said it before but these people really are my rock stars.  They were swamped on the week day of my visit with lots of holiday shoppers yet they were still able to take time to meet and visit with me for which I'm so appreciative.

Readers, you have no reason to shy away from this bookstore.  And since many of you live near Chicago or visit there, you have no excuses.  Take the red line to the Berwyn station and then a 10-minute walk to a fabulous bookstore with a 5-star staff.  If you're not a regular, you'll become one after your first visit.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The View From Penthouse B, Elinor Lipman.

Another exterior view.  The store has a great corner location.  

One of the window displays.  You can check out the staff favorites before you even walk in the door.  

View looking straight into the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the right from the front entrance.  

Looking to the left from the front entrance.  

This is my kind of place to try out a book!

It's not too late to get your 2017 calendar.  

A great staff pick display.  You can find staff picks throughout the store.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

Take time to notice the pictures around the store of the many authors who have appeared here.  

The store has lots of table displays.  

The store's top-sellers for 2016.  

A few of the magazines available.  

Bring your Harry Potter fans here.  

Kudos to the person who designed this book bag and did the art work.  

A portion of the children's section.  

T-shirts with a literary theme.  

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

Some great sidelines here.  

I absolutely love this.  Pick up the phone, dial a number on the left that corresponds to a book title and hear a review.  

View of the second room.  More sidelines and more books.  

There are numerous sidelines throughout the store.  

Shop local, buy local.  Every independent bookstore you visit supports your local economy.  

These are some of the terrific people you'll meet at Women & Children First.  After me, L-R, Molly, Jamie, and Sarah.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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