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Beecroft says good-bye

J.W. Beecroft Books & Coffee opened its final chapter today. "We're closing at the end of the year," said Manager Amanda Parker. The one-of-a-kind bookstore has been part of Superior culture for 10 years. It grew from a couple's passion for b...

J.W. Beecroft Books & Coffee opened its final chapter today.

"We're closing at the end of the year," said Manager Amanda Parker.

The one-of-a-kind bookstore has been part of Superior culture for 10 years. It grew from a couple's passion for books and good coffee.

"We wanted to enjoy them ourselves and share them with the community," said Jan Murphy, who owns the bookstore with her husband, John.

The store's mission includes creating a place for customers to gather, and for customers and employees to have fun.

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"I think it surpassed the vision," Parker said.

Hollie Will of Foxboro, a regular patron of the bookstore and cafe, agreed.

"It's just a good home away from home," she said. "They know me by name here, which is nice."

"Like Norm from Cheers," said Susie Setterstrom, who sat sipping chai tea with Will.

Employees appreciated the nurturing atmosphere.

"From the very start it's always been family," Parker said. "It truly has been a wonderful place to work. How many places can you work where you can get ... 12 to 15 women all in one room and we just get along, we don't get in tiffs."

"We all had a common goal, and we all worked toward that goal and it's just been great," said Jeanie Graskey, who manages the cafe section.

Carrie Sutherland, assistant manager, said her eight years with the bookstore have spoiled her.

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"Because this has been such a unique and wonderful place to work I can't imagine continuing to work in the book business," she said. "Nothing will live up to this experience."

Everyone agreed it will be hard to turn the key for the final time.

"We're going to miss the customers terribly," Graskey said.

Finances did not play a big role in the decision to close the store, Murphy said. The bookstore is having a good year, financially.

But even the best books have a final chapter.

"It was never meant to be a life-long activity," Murphy said of the store. "It was meant to be an adventure."

And now, she said, it is time to move on to the next.

"I want to retire ... pursue other things, travel," Murphy said. "There's a really interesting world out there and there's lots of little bookstores to explore."

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Letters about the closing were sent to the store's 3,500 current customers. They should begin arriving in the mail today. Book discounts begin Nov. 5, and special orders will no longer be taken for books.

In a final gift to the community, Murphy planned the closing to coincide with the holiday shopping season.

"We're going to wrap it up I think in a way that makes us all feel like we're saying a nice goodbye," she said. She encouraged visitors to come buy some beautiful books and share a hug.

"It's sad. It will be bittersweet," she said. "It's also something we're going to have fun with."

If anyone can do Sutherland said, "It's us."

Some are already looking ahead to a new chapter.

"We're on the brink of an adventure," said Naomi Musch, who works in the cafe section.

Maria Lockwood is available at mlockwood@superiortele-gram.com or (715) 395-5025.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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