Winnetka’s Book Stall owner to sell the shop
Roberta Rubin, owner of The Book Stall, has agreed to sell the book shop to Winnetka resident Stephanie Hochschild. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 12, 2013 9:36PM
WINNETKA — After 31 years of ownership, Roberta Rubin says it’s time to turn the page and sell The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, 811 Elm St.
Rubin, of Glencoe, has signed a letter of intent to sell the store to Winnetka resident Stephanie Hochschild, and the sale is expected to take effect June 1.
“It started when we became (Publishers Weekly’s) Bookstore of the Year in 2012,” Rubin said. “I thought, ‘OK, this is my exit strategy.’ I’m in my mid-70s and it was time. As much as I love the business, I don’t want to work everyday as hard as I do.”
Hochschild lived in Winnetka from 1999-2001 and briefly left to live outside of New York City. She and her family returned to Winnetka in 2005.
“I’ve been a lifelong reader and have followed the industry,” Hochschild said. “My kids have grown up coming to the bookstore, and we’ve bought a lot of books here.”
Rubin purchased the store in 1982, 10 years after it was started by Eleanor Johnston and Jane Schroyer on Green Bay Road. In 1987, the store moved to Elm Street and has since undergone two expansions.
Rubin admits her late husband David told her she would only own the store for five years, but when he died suddenly 16 years ago she was glad to have the business.
“It was a salvation,” Rubin said. “I was very glad to have the store.”
Under terms of the agreement, Rubin will remain on as a consultant for five months to mentor Hochschild about all aspects of the business. Rubin also is planning a trip to New York with Hochschild to meet with publishers to ensure a seamless transition.
“It’s been my baby,” Rubin said. “Stephanie is eager to learn. She’s very smart and the staff likes her.”
Hochschild worked at the store from October through December to get to know the staff and the inner workings of The Book Stall and signed the letter of intent to purchase the shop a week ago.
“I wanted to talk to the staff and try to understand the business before I made the jump,” Hochschild said. “We’ll continue to meet the needs of the community, be involved in social media and take things one step at a time.”
According to Rubin there were five interested parties involved in the negotiations to purchase The Book Stall. Finding a buyer she liked was a challenge, but she feels confident with Hochschild taking over.
Rubin is busy planning many author visits for April and May and calls it a busy time for the book business.
“I’m looking forward to building audiences (for the visits) and build up our stock,” Rubin said. “I want it to look good and be good.”
Though unsure of what she will do with her free time, Rubin does not rule out doing some writing herself, and she plans to visit with her four children and seven grandchildren.
“Everything’s open to me,” Rubin said. “I’m leaving with good feelings and an appreciation for my community. I think the North Shore of Chicago has been so supportive and has really gone beyond for us. We work with so many schools and organizations and have formed so many partnerships. I’m very appreciative of that.”