Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops signed a lease on Thursday to open a new bookstore at the intersection of Kinnickinnic, Lincoln and Howell Avenues, a triangle in Bay View that is also home to Café Lulu, Q-Real restaurant and Stone Creek Coffee.
Schwartz first began eyeing a Bay View location in 1999 but opted to open a Racine location, which has since closed. Since then the bookseller has often been linked to the Avalon Theater, a site which the shop considered six years ago and was recently sold.
"I think the number one question I have been asked in the past year is, 'When are you opening a Bay View store?'" says Mary McCarthy, vice president of the Schwartz stores. The inquiries have been from not only Schwartz customers and booksellers, but also from Alderman Tony Zielinski.
"Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but if an alderman asks you to do something, you do it," says McCarthy in reference to the many calls she received from the alderman regarding a new location.
"Plus, it just makes sense. Bay View is an exciting and up-and-coming neighborhood that we are thrilled to be a part of."
Coincidentally, another bookstore, Broad Vocabulary, recently opened in the same area. "I think it's incredibly exciting," says McCarthy of her bookstore neighbor. "Places like Chicago and New York have streets with multiple bookstores on them. People like to have a choice."
McCarthy says that she hopes the two stores can work together in the community, and possibly even co-host author appearances.
While Broad Vocabulary features mostly feminist literature, Schwartz specializes in fiction, children's literature and social criticism. McCarthy says that the new location will sell used books, as well.
"Our goal is to tailor our store to the specific neighborhood," she says. "We think that Bay View customers want a good used book section, and after we've settled in a bit, we can get an even better feel for what the people want in a bookstore."
The new 3,200-sq. ft. store at 2254 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., is set to open July 15. The significant date is the birthday of the late A. David Schwartz, who assumed ownership and presidency of his family's business after his father Harry's death in 1984. David passed away in June 2004.
July 15 also marks the day that the latest addition to the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," hits the shelves. Schwartz's Bay View location will have a soft opening at 11 p.m. that evening for customers to buy the much-anticipated book.
"July is coming up pretty quick, but it's really important to us to be open on David's birthday," says McCarthy. "It might just be me sitting at a card table with a huge stack of Harry Potter books, but I will be selling."
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”