Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Mac's Backs Books - Cleveland Heights, OH

Mac's Backs Books, Cleveland Heights, OH
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Happy Birthday to Mac's Backs Books and all the fine folks who work there.  Longevity in bookstores should be recognized, rewarded and deservedly acknowledged.  For all the fans of Mac's Backs Books (and I know there are many!), you can do just that at their 40th anniversary party this September.  For everyone else, it's not too late to jump on the band wagon and ride the wave that everyone else in the Cleveland area has been on for forty years.

Obviously, to be around this long there has to be a few things in place to make that happen.  I had a great talk with Suzanne D., one of the co-owners, and one of her top reasons for the store's run is its location.  They're in the very busy Coventry Village retail district surrounded by many other small independent businesses.  It's very accessible for foot traffic and draws from a neighborhood of diversity, families, and the university community.  They've been in this space since 1993 but the ace card that will keep them here is the very popular Tommy's Restaurant.  There is an entrance from right inside the store making it easy for the two businesses to share customers.  I would add one more thing to what Suzanne told me about the store's successful run.  Consistent, competent, creative, and enduring ownership plays a huge role in the store's success.  

Mac's offers a wonderful bookstore experience on 3-levels.  You'll find new and used books as well as many sidelines including quirky socks, greeting cards, puzzles, onesies for the baby, book bags, and t-shirts to name just a few.  These are proving to be an important part of the business but the store's income has really grown thanks to many large events, sometimes ticketed, held off-site at large venues.  They also hold events in the store including poetry reading events that have been ongoing since 1984, very impressive.  Customers are able to receive store credit for the books that the store takes in.  Mac's has lots of posters from events of the past, movie posters, and book posters which gives it the very comfortable feel of a 40-year old book store.  Mac's, you've aged well.

Suzanne and Rosa, one of the booksellers, were very nice to talk to and as if I need anymore bookstores to visit, they gave me some good recommendations.  

If you're in the Cleveland area and haven't been to Mac's, it's time to discover what many others have, an ageless bookstore where you can lose track of time in one of our country's established independent bookstores.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Florida, Lauren Groff.  Collection of short stories that all have a slice of Florida.  Weather, hurricanes, snakes, camping, odd relationships, and more.  Overall, a good collection that mostly held my interest.  I don't usually go for this genre though because when I finish one of the short stories I always feel like I want to know more.  

CURRENLTY READING:  The Heavenly Table, Donald Ray Pollock.

One of the display windows.  

Mac's has good display window space.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  Addicted readers may recognize the celebrity browsing.  Yes, that's my mom.  

View looking to the left of the front entrance.  Lots of book bags on display outside the stairwell heading up to the 2nd level.  

There was a time in our country's history when TVs were popular.  Now you can find these artifacts on display in bookstores.  

Great display of staff picks.  

Mac's has a great offering of sidelines.  Here's one of the nice displays.

An impressive wall of books.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

A few bookstores offer quirky oven mitts, similar to the quirky (sassy??!) socks I've written about many times.  

A few of the store favorites.  

Halfway back through the store, go to the left and walk through this connecting doorway to Tommy's Restaurant.  We ate lunch there on a weekday, the place was great and absolutely packed.  

This is the back of the store.  Continue through this door...

...and you'll find this stairway that leads downstairs to more books.  

View looking into a basement full of books.  

Display of books for The Great American Read.  

An overview of the basement.  If you're over about 6'3", heads up.  Low ceiling, don't bump your head.  

Posters can be found displayed throughout the store.  

Staff picks up on the 2nd floor.  

View looking across the 2nd level.  The stairway to this level is just to the left after entering the store.  

Overview of the 2nd level looking from the back toward the front stairway.  Lots of sci-fi and fantasy on this level.  

The aliens have spoken.  

View from the 2nd level looking down on the main floor.  

With Suzanne, the fine co-owner at Mac's Backs Books.  Thanks for a great visit. 

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