Sneak Peek: Let the construction begin!

Since signing the lease, our lives have been in a whirlwind. The outpouring of local Ann Arbor support is both awesome and incredible. The community has been fantastic. We apologize if we haven’t responded to all the messages and comments and questions — we’ve been working hard with our contractors to get this bookstore as open as soon as possible.

The big question: When?

We’re hoping early March. A lot of that depends on a variety of factors, including construction and build-out of the space. We are doing some improvements including a complete cosmetic redesign of the basement. Our store will be two levels of 1300 square foot space for a total of 2600. So, if you walk by Washington and 4th Ave. and peek inside, you’ll see an upstairs space that is an open, exposed brick, tin-ceiling cathedral of happiness and wonder. But if you peak down the staircase, the basement is (right now) a dungeon of gloom and doom and vague creepiness. Our challenge the next six weeks is to brighten up that dungeon, make it inviting, and turn it into a destination for book lovers and writers (as well as exorcising any ghosts who may still linger).

For those unfamiliar, here is a shot of the upstairs space. In the back will be a new bathroom, and we’ve worked with an architect to design our floor plan and general layout. It’s going to be an open, modern, well-lit upstairs space with a children’s section near the rear entrance.

Upstairs, from last month. If you peak inside now, you'll see a bathroom near the back.
Upstairs image taken last month. If you peak inside now, you’ll see the frame for a bathroom near the back.

Aaaaand here is the scary basement. While we could turn this into a nice haunted house area for children, haunted houses don’t sell books. We imagine it eventually as having a very cool, cozy vibe with possibly some seating and a space for groups to meet (book clubs, etc). But it’s going to take quite a bit of work. We’re generally cleaning it up, redoing the flooring, adding lots of lights, and painting. So, in short, a total transformation. We wish we had a magic wand to wave, but instead we’ve got some hard work cut out of us. Stay tuned…

A portion of the scary basement. In six weeks, this will look totally different. Call the Property Brothers!
A portion of the scary basement. In six weeks, this will look totally different.

Please continue supporting us on Facebook and on Twitter. Your Facebook messages and continued support are the fuel that gives us the pep in our step. Thank you all so much!


We have exciting news: WE SIGNED THE LEASE!!!!

Literati Bookstore front
The green storefront on the corner is officially the home of Literati Bookstore!

Literati Bookstore will officially open at 124 E. Washington Street in downtown Ann Arbor, on the corner of Washington and 4th. Our space is directly next door to Amadeus Restaurant and two doors down from our favorite happy hour spot Arbor Brewing Company. We couldn’t be more thrilled about the location! Washington Street is quickly becoming a hotspot for restaurants and businesses and we’re happy to be adding to the vitality of the area.

Lease signing
Hilary signing the lease. Our witness was a giant Bob Marley banana.

Thank you so much to everyone in the past few weeks who has reached out, supported us, sent a kind note, or supported us on Facebook and Twitter. We will have much more news in the upcoming days and weeks, and hopefully, we will be opening very soon, too. We have lots of work to do… but the biggest step is done!

A special thanks to our families and friends who have supported us thus far. We couldn’t have done this without you. We are so excited to be in downtown Ann Arbor. We are so excited to enhance the vibrant book culture that already exists. And we are so excited to finally call Ann Arbor home of Literati Bookstore.

More to come….

We are so excited! Here’s the obligatory self-shot just after signing the lease. We’re looking forward to adding to the book community in downtown Ann Arbor.

Borders Bookshelves Repurposed

Borders shelving we removed from the walls and stacked in the loading dock area.

When we started thinking about how we were going to shelve the store, we initially thought we’d use a mix of used and custom shelves. But then we heard that Borders No. 1 downtown Ann Arbor still had lots of shelving available. So we went and checked it out and decided, let’s do this. We removed/disassembled more than 50 shelves.

Michael moving shelving through Borders No.1

The children’s area had custom-made shelves that are fabulous. They have adjustable shelves with built-in lighting (which we’ll have to re-wire).¬†Additionally, they have a board covering the built-in lights that are painted a whimsical navy-blue with stars. We’ll try to give the new shelves some Literati personality and paint over that with chalkboard paint, making it easy to write in our sections. We’re planning to accent the store in black and white so we can to keep in line with our logo design, hence our signage in the black/white of chalkboard. This was an idea passed along by Kate McCune, a Harper Collins rep, who suggested this after Parnassus Books in Nashville instituted chalkboard signage for their sections, making it easy to switch them up if need be.

Children’s section shelving we are repurposing.
You can see the detail of the painted board over the lights here. Hoisted by the strong Mike Gustafson.
The other shelves, seen below, are standard oak units that could be found in almost all Borders stores. They are a little tall for our basement so we might have to cut them down to ensure they fit.
Standard oak shelving found throughout the store.
We also bought some display items like magazine racks, four-sided display islands, and lots of slatboard. Not only do we feel fortunate to have access to this great shelving, but we are happy to be reusing it in an eco-friendly way. And a little bit of Borders, this great Ann Arbor institution, can live on in Literati.