Partners Go for Bookish Change

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), October 15, 2002 | Go to article overview

Partners Go for Bookish Change


Byline: ED RUSSO The Register-Guard

Just as Broadway in downtown Eugene has been opened to automobile traffic, three of the former pedestrian mall's retail tenants are departing.

Wipf and Stock Publishers, Windows Booksellers and Theo's Coffee House will move a block north, into the former Anderson's Sporting Goods store at Eighth Avenue and Charnelton Street. Jon Stock owns and runs the publishing house, and he and Doug Randels together own and run the book store and coffee house.

Stock and Randels in July bought the former Anderson's building for $700,000 and say they prefer to house their ventures in a place they own rather than in property they were renting year-to-year from downtown landlords Tom Connor and Don Woolley.

The partners bought the building from Harvey Fox of Salem, who once owned the small, Oregon-based sporting goods chain. Anderson's closed after national and regional sporting goods chains moved into Oregon, turning up the financial heat on locally owned retailers.

Wipf and Stock Publishers, Windows Booksellers and Theo's are all currently in side-by-side leased space in a West Broadway storefront. Windows Booksellers also has a store at Multnomah Bible College in Portland.

At 22,000-square feet, the former Anderson's building has more room than their three businesses need, so Stock and Randels hope to attract tenants to fill the rest of the space.

Their vision for much of the first floor includes Theo's and spaces for shops that sell books, music, food and other products. "We want to create a calm, relaxed environment where somebody can come in and browse for books and music," Stock said. "It would be a place where they could get a cappuccino, or grab a quick bite to eat."

Stock estimates that he and Randels will spend $200,000 getting the space ready to lease. John Metzger of Eugene is the general contractor. Shelley Davis-Gridley of Portland is the project designer.

The partners have a long way to go. They still await final building permits from the city to construct new homes for Wipf and Stock, Windows and Theo's. Stock said he hopes those businesses can move to the Eighth Avenue building in the next couple of months.

Then, Stock said he'll concentrate on attracting tenants to the building, which he and Randels have dubbed The Strand, after the famous publishing street in London.

The literary reference is intentional. Without books - Christian-oriented books in particular - the partners would not be able to afford their dream.

Stock received a masters degree in biblical studies from Northwest Christian College in 1988, the year he opened Windows Booksellers on East 11th Avenue. The store, which sells mostly used scholarly books on Western religion, philosophy and history, was a communal effort of friends, many of whom met at NCC, Stock said.

In 1998, the bookstore moved to the Broadway building owned by Connor and Woolley. …

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