Uptown bookstore to embark on final chapter

By ARTS & CULTURE REPORTER

In 1966, Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood gained a new bookstore by the name of The Book Box, 4812 N. Broadway. Currently named Shake, Rattle & Read, the store is set to close its doors in 2016 after a 50th anniversary party and a going-out-of-business sale where everything must go. 

Ric Addy, the owner of Shake, Rattle & Read, said he purchased the store from his sister and brother-in-law in 1986 when they retired.

“When I went into the store, it mostly [sold] books, and I said, ‘This place needs records,’” Addy said. “To let people know there was a new owner, and there was going to be new stuff in there, I changed the name to Shake, Rattle & Read, but I still leave the name The Book Box on the sign.”

Addy said after running the store for 30 years, he is ready to retire. He added that his first choice was to sell the store, but his landlord refused.

Addy said aside from a few alterations he and his sister have made, the store has not been updated since its opening, and the electricity and plumbing are both out of date.

Neighborhood residents said they are sad that the space is going to change, but Addy said it is happening at the right time.

“As much as people love the store, I’m not seeing it at the cash register,” Addy said. “Especially weekdays, we’re averaging 5 to 8 customers a day. Back in the ‘90s, we’d be getting five customers in an hour.”

Many people who visit the store window shop or browse without buying, which influenced Addy’s decision to close.

“I think one day [Uptown] will become the big entertainment district they’re talking about, but I don’t have time to wait around for it,” Addy said. “I’ve put everything I could into [the store] for 30 years.”

Addy said he has enjoyed spending the last 30 years meeting customers of all ages and backgrounds.

“We have 50 people in our group who do various things, and most of us have been in the store and love it,” said Ben Masters, a member of the horror movie festival Terror in the Aisles. “Ric Addy has a warm personality and is extremely knowledgeable.”

Masters added that he thinks Chicago is losing an interesting piece of its culture now that the store is closing.

“If you haven’t been to Shake, Rattle & Read, you should go as much as possible before it’s closed,” Masters said. “If you have been to Shake, Rattle & Read, you should still go as much as possible before it’s closed.”

Greg Carroll, interim executive director of Business Partners, The Chamber for Uptown, said Shake, Rattle & Read is an “Uptown tradition.”

“[Addy’s] store is just one of those anchor businesses for Uptown,” Carroll said. “It has such an amazing history, and it’s meant a lot to many people in this neighborhood.”

Addy said he plans to host a party in mid-January to celebrate 50 years, with sales beginning in February starting at 50 percent off and increasing the discount until everything is gone. He added that the store will likely close in July.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support for 50 years,” Addy said. “That’s pretty damn good.”

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