Shaman Drum Gives Up the Fight to Survive; Wisconsin Store to Close After 113 Years
Owner of Ann Arbor bookstore Shaman Drum Karl Pohrt will close the store at the end of June. “I feel like I’ve had this charmed life to sell books in Ann Arbor for nearly 30 years,” he tells the Ann Arbor News (which will also close soon.) “That’s a good run.”
The store’s site says, “On the advice of my accountant and my business manager, I am closing Shaman Drum Bookshop June 30. Despite a first rate staff, a fiercely loyal core of customers, a very decent landlord and my own commitment to the community of arts and letters in Ann Arbor, it is clear to me that the bookshop is not a sustainable business.”
Pohrt had said earlier in the year that he was trying to save the store by reconstituting as a nonprofit. He indicates that plans to establish the Great Lakes Literary Arts Center continue, though he does not have a location for the center yet. On the store site, he notes that “I am decoupling Shaman Drum Bookshop from the Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, which should simplify and streamline our IRS application. I will pursue this new venture after we close the store.”
Also set to close is Conkey’s Bookstore in Appleton, WI, where the shop has operated for 113 years. Owner John Zimmerman tells the local paper, “We’ve done the best we can under the situation we’re in now. What hurts the most is what will happen to the people who work for me.” He has not set a firm closing date, while the store holds a sale and employees look for other work. Mayor Tim Hanna says, “It’s one of those anchor stores … an icon in downtown Appleton.”
The store lost about half of its business when their campus bookstore contract with Fox Valley Technical College ended. The college is switching to BN College as of July.