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January 5, 2011 / schulerbooks

New Year, New Lease for Schuler in downtown Grand Rapids!

It’s official! The downtown Grand Rapids location of Schuler Books will remain open for at least another year, and hopefully longer. We’ve been working to make it a destination location for downtowners – let us know what you’d like to see in a small, downtown bookstore!

Schuler Books Downtown Grand Rapids gets renewed lease on life

Published: Monday, January 03, 2011, 2:14 PM     Updated: Monday, January 03, 2011, 2:59 PM

By Chris Knape | The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS — Schuler Books will keep its downtown store open for at least another year.

The Grand Rapids-based book seller’s lease on the space, 40 Fountain St. NW, had been set to expire, but co-owner Bill Fehsenfeld said Monday the company agreed to a one-year lease renewal.

Last year Fehsenfeld said 2010 would be a critical year for the store as its cafe was doing well but the book-selling side of the business was not making money.

Changes in mid and late 2010 shook up the store’s product mix to include more bargain books, used books and gift items. The result was encouraging, he said.

“The real challenge for us is to make sure that (the downtown store) is in the front of peoples’ minds, especially professionals that work downtown and people that live downtown,” he said. “Instead of in their office ordering online or picking something up later, they might think about going online and having a book held for them downtown or ordering an E-book from us. Those are the kinds of things that are going to help.”

Fehsenfeld said Google’s new electronic book initiative provides a way for independent stores like Schuler to sell e-books at prices comparable to those offered by giants like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Schuler opened the store inside the old Steketee’s building in October of 2007, taking over for the short-lived River Bank Books which had occupied the same space.

He said Schuler’s goal is to continue to adapt and provide the best service and selection possible. Fehsenfeld credited Rockford Construction, which owns the space, for being flexible and helpful as Schuler has tried to make a go of the urban store.

“Things are going to keep changing,” he said. “It’s a challenging business right now. I don’t think anyone has a perfectly clear idea where things are going.”

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