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Common Good Books to move to Macalester College following $1.2 million renovation of the space

Prominent radio show personality Garrison Keillor is relocating his bookstore, Common Good Books, from Western Avenue North in St. Paul to a larger storefront space at nearby Macalester College.

To make way for the bookstore, this month Macalester began a $1.2 million renovation project at the 1923 Lampert Building, which will take about four months, according to Macalester’s newspaper, The Mac Weekly.

The bookstore will fill the first floor, while the college will sell textbooks on the second floor, according to David O’Neill, marketing director for the bookstore.

Previously, the building housed the Macalester Summit-Hill Seniors Living at Home Program, the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth, and living space for retired faculty, The Mac Weekly reports.

At the existing space, “We’ve had a wonderful patronage; people come into the store and know the staff by name, and it’s a great neighborhood,” O'Neill says.

That being said, “We were landlocked as far as space. We needed a larger space.”

The bookstore will nearly double its space with 3,000 square feet. “It’ll allow us to have more titles and books,” with more shelf space.
Although the design is still coming together, the new bookstore will have a similar feel to the current space, with author quotes appearing here and there, and many of the current bookshelves making the move.  

“We’ll look at the floor plan and figure out how to lay it out, with places to read and hang out,” says O'Neill.

In contrast to Common Good's current basement-level location, the new place will have more natural light. The windows will also give passersby the opportunity to get a taste for what’s inside. “We encourage people to come in and spend some time there,” he says.     

Additionally, the bookstore will be able to host literary events in partnership with the school, which has lacked a trade bookstore since Ruminator Books closed in 2004, according to a prepared statement.
Keillor adds in the prepared statement, “It’s a good neighborhood, and with all those college students around, there’s a sense of high spirits in the air, and you need to inhale that if you’re in the book business.”
Source: David O’Neill, marketing director, Common Good Books
Writer: Anna Pratt
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