Daniel Goldin, senior buyer at Schwartz Bookshop, just sent me this news about the local independent bookseller's Bay View location.
"It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Bay View -- the doors will close April 1 of 2008.
"We went into the Bay View location with a commitment to the Bay View community and high hopes for a future as a small, neighborhood bookshop. We were enthusiastically embraced by Bay View and appreciate the loyal readers who passed through our doors; their always kind words and encouragement have enriched us and make this decision especially difficult.
"Although it seems the shop has been open for a relatively short period of time, it became clear that even our modest expectations would not be realized. We have struggled greatly with the decision to close our doors in Bay View and in the end we feel that it is important now to use our resources to support our other shops. We would like to thank our friends in the Bay View community for their support and hope that they will visit other Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop locations."
The 3,200-sq. ft. store at 2254 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., opened July 15, 2005, the birthday of A. David Schwartz, who died the year before.
"We loved Bay View when we opened the shop in 2005 and we love Bay View now," says Goldin. " I live in the area and so do a number of our other booksellers. We looked at the shop long and hard and tried to come up with a way to increase the business. Ald. Zielinski was great about working with us regarding some ideas to increase our business. Eric Gesell, the shop manager, was a popular presence in the shop and on KK, always there with a smile and some interesting conversation.
"But in the end, we couldn't get enough business for the numbers to work, and too much of the business that we did have was being siphoned off from other existing Schwartz shops. This is a tough retail environment in general, with extra challenges for booksellers. We need to focus our energy on our four remaining shops.
"We hope our loyal and wonderful customers will continue to shop with us at one of the other locations. Several ex-Bay View booksellers have moved or are moving to our Downer Avenue location, and another has started at our Mequon shop. We wish the best for the neighborhood, and still see great potential for the area."
Although Schwartz Bookshops has been one of the rare examples of an indepedent bookseller that has survived the hegemony of the chains, another small shop in Racine also struggled and closed a few years after it opened in 1999.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.