Employee buys urban bookstore
A local bookstore is getting a new owner.
Jonathan Shotwell and Christopher Roe, the co-founders of Books & Mortar in Grand Rapids' East Hills neighborhood, at 955 Cherry St. SE, have turned over ownership of the business to employee Jenny Kinne.
Books & Mortar was founded in 2016 as a progressive bookstore.
“It was always our plan to find our sustainer in year three, four or five, but the universe has sent us our sustainer early, and we are responding by welcoming her along for the ride,” Shotwell and Roe said on Facebook.
Kinne, known to patrons as “Bookseller Jenny,” has been an employee at Books & Mortar since 2017. She will begin her new role as owner on Nov. 1.
“I know that for me and many of us, saying farewell to Jonathan and Christopher is going to be hard,” Kinne said. “I cannot put into words how much they mean to me, and I assure you that I am going to work every day to honor and build upon their legacy.”
In addition to her job at Books & Mortar, Kinne also worked for the Michigan League for Public Policy, informing and talking with community members, organizations and businesses about public policies. Previously, she was a community organizer for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.
Kinne said she’s leaving her career in public policy to run Books & Mortar.
“Jenny’s love for books, her progressive values and her commitment to organizing the community for positive social change was a perfect fit for the store as an employee and as an owner, will sustain the well-known ethos of Books & Mortar long into the future,” Shotwell and Roe said.
Roe will settle into his new role as director of religious education at Fountain Street Church in downtown Grand Rapids.
Shotwell will pursue other opportunities in community organization and development.