CARBONDALE — After the recent closure of Bookworm, the appearance of the “For Lease” sign on 710 Bookstore at 819 S. Illinois Ave. was likely a worrying sight for local book-lovers.
But the longstanding college bookstore isn’t shutting its doors — just relocating.
Randy Johnson, who co-owns the business with Dwayne and Kim Summers, said the store is moving to 1051 S. Wall St. in the old Carbondale water treatment plant, which is being redeveloped and remodeled. (The third floor has already been redeveloped as apartments.)
710 Bookstore, which sells Southern Illinois University textbooks and apparel, will be located on the second floor and is slated to reopen there July 1.
Johnson said the new location offers more space and will allow 710 to provide more on-site events. The business has taken on more custom work recently, and is looking for new ways to reach people, such as partnerships with other businesses and activities that draw in customers.
"The days of people just walking in the front door is just not realistic, so we want to be able to have activities and stuff going on, especially in the fall,” he said.
He said that 710 Bookstore staff members are excited about the new location.
“It’s just a neat old building. … Obviously, originally it was designed as a water treatment plant, so it had big tanks and stuff in it, and all these water device mechanisms. It’ll look a little more industrial on the inside, and we’re going to leave the brick walls bare,” Johnson said.
710 Bookstore moved into its current spot in Saluki Plaza in April 2014 from its original location at 710 S. Illinois Ave. to make room for the Evolve apartment complex.
Johnson said he’s not worried about being farther from the SIU Carbondale campus.
“We kind of like the location, because there’s an awful lot of student housing behind us. With the trend right now and the way things are going, we think it actually puts us in a little better situation in terms of that," he said.
Johnson said the bookstore will host a special event at the new location on July 10 to celebrate the store’s namesake, but details are still being hammered out.