For the past 42 (!) years, People’s Books Cooperative has been a breath of fresh, progressive-minded air in Milwaukee’s ever-consolidating bookstore scene. Chris Chiu opened the shop in 1974 near the corner of Locust and Maryland, serving UWM students and anyone else looking for heady tomes on cultural studies, radical politics, poetry, or philosophy. People’s Books became a true community-run cooperative in 2007, and moved to Center St. in Riverwest in 2012. Throughout it all, its mission remained the same. Sadly, it appears the bookstore has reached its final chapter.
In a detailed Facebook post, People’s Books reveals it will be closing its doors Wednesday, August 31. The culprit? Landlord troubles:
Soon after deciding to focus on our cafe plans in the summer of 2015 we proposed a new commercial lease to our landlords, who were generous enough to reduce our rent significantly and agreed to negotiate a new lease. However, despite the fact that our ad-hoc committee included a neighborhood attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law, we were unable to reach a final agreement after 10 months of negotiations.
“On July 1, after four years of paying our rent on time and 10 months of negotiations to renew our lease, including many concessions on our part, our landlords abruptly rescinded their offer to extend our lease and informed us that we needed to vacate the premises. They have graciously given us up to three months to close up shop.”
The bookstore signs off thusly:
“We would like to thank all who have contributed to keeping this bookstore running for the past nine years, especially our members and volunteers. Without the time, support, and financial contributions that you have given us year after year we wouldn’t have lasted as long as we have. Our doors will close August 31st. We hope to see you one last time before then.”
Read the rest of the post here.