Lunch With Honors: Hilary Lowe (Literati Book Store)
“Literati Bookstore: Dream Come True or Escapist Fantasy?”
A year ago, Michael Gustafson and Hilary Lowe came to Ann Arbor to start an independent bookstore in the city where Borders had built its empire and fallen, and where the beloved indie, Shaman Drum, had been unable to survive. More than 75% of the nation’s bookstores that existed 20 years ago have closed, and pundits have been predicting the death of the book along with the demise of the bookstore. Skeptics questioned the validity of this project: how could a tiny, brand-new bookstore run by two neophytes compete against Amazon, the e-reader, and the decline of reading in America?
Literati Bookstore opened at the corner of Washington and Fourth Streets last spring; Hilary and Mike got married in June; and the store was covered by C-SPAN in November. More importantly, Literati has become a community space where people read and talk about books, form relationships (from a friendship between Wolf Man and 7-year-old Logan to a marriage proposal written on the store’s iconic typewriter), and contribute to the vitality of the city. Come meet Hilary and Mike, hear what they have to say about their fantastic project, and ask what it took (and is taking) to make their dream come true.
Michael and Hilary Gustafson are both Michigan natives: Mike is from Grand Rapids and Hilary grew up in Ann Arbor. After earning a film degree at Northwestern, Mike worked in television in LA before moving to New York. Hilary worked for Simon & Shuster after taking her degree in Politics & International Relations from Scripps College.
Read more about the store here: https://literatibookstore.wordpress.com/.
Read a charming article about the store by UM Prof Jeremiah Chamberlain here: http://www.pw.org/content/how_to_make_a_life_maybe_even_a_living