Volumes pops up in Water Tower: An experiment in expansion?


Volumes' Water Tower space

Wicker Park's Volumes Bookcafe is popping-up on the 6th Level of Water Tower Place, in the heart of the Magnificent Mile. They'll be in that space until the end of January 2019, open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 


Kimberly holds down the Milwaukee Ave. store


Rebecca is spending most of her time at the Water Tower pop-up

Sisters Rebecca and Kimberly George are spreading their bibliophile fever from 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave. to Michigan Avenue, to increase current income and test the waters for future expansion. 

This short pop-up venture will hopefully earn them extra monies "that will allow us to do cooler things that we want to do in Wicker Park," explains Rebecca. 


The Milwaukee Ave. book store and cafe

"The hardest thing in a business is to invest in your business as you pay off the debt of going into business. We want to do more stuff with schools and community organizations, but we need a stronger financial back bone." 

Their success on Milwaukee Ave. is not just because of their diverse customer base who tend to shun popular bestselling titles for such genres as social justice, politics, science, sociology, technology and thoughtful reflections of situations around the world. It is because they have become a community hub. 


Frame on top of a chalked quote on the Milwaukee Ave.'s black board wall area

Aside from offering special reading material, it is a place for exchanging thoughts and opinions with strangers and friends. A place to participate in an event or celebrate an occasion. A place to take a break, enjoy a nosh or a beverage from coffee to liquor. 

It is a place where a kid is lifted up to scan his new book, because he won't let it go. It is a place where Rebecca and Kimberly become part of various families as they join in on family celebrations. 

While there have been engagements and various personal celebrations in their space, next year there will be at least two weddings! 

Can that neighborhood approach be successful "downtown"? 

That is an unknown. It may fill the same or different roles for neighbors who tend to live in high rises. 

Open for just over a week, they are having a flow of shopper. In addition, one person has contacted them, hoping that they will remain because she has limited mobility and there is no other bookstore close by. 


Transit Tees has a corner of the shop filled with various Chicago based gift items

In this temporary pop-up environment, the George sisters are including other local businesses with non-book items. Part of the initial move-in is Transit Tees, which has their primary store at 1371 N. Milwaukee Ave. 

Transit Tees unique Chicago items makes a great augmentation for their jewelry, art and other handpicked gift items. They appear to be tapping into an under-served knish of non-sports gift items, in Water Tower. 

One certainty for this added business adventure is that the days Rebecca and Kimberly will be working will probably be seven per week! So wish them well, stop by both locations and send your friends.



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