Smile Politely

Old Main Bookshoppe quickly closing up

After reading about the upcoming, rushed closure of Old Main Bookshoppe, I stopped by the store last Friday to follow-up with the owner on a previous inquiry. I was shocked to already find most of the store’s inventory (nearly all of its vinyl and a good number of its books) moved off site.

Owner Steve Kysar, who is a bit of an institution in this town, was in store directing the action as shelving and vintage stereo equipment were hauled out the front door. He stopped his work for a minute to address my concern. Sadly, he is indeed closing up shop for good and hopes to liquidate his massive vinyl and and book collections in one fell swoop. Same goes for his collection of vintage audio equipment, much of which had been stored in the basement of the building. I don’t know who is in the market for such a haul — maybe a similar-minded store in a larger market? — but I wish him the best of luck and a happy retirement.

I can’t say that I stopped by his store as often as I probably should have, but I really enjoyed the time I spent there digging through his vinyl collection. That I found reasonably priced copies of John Fahey’s “Requia” and Can’s “Future Days” at his store is a testament to the quality and diversity of his inventory. And at a time in which I’m just beginning to become more interested in vintage audio equipment, it really is sad to lose such an exceptional resource on the topic. When I recently told him about the mid-’70s Philips turntable I had picked up on eBay, he began spewing facts and idiosyncrasies about the table — all off the top of his head.

His store should still be open this week with limited inventory for sale (classical and audiophile LPs were still available for sale, for example). It’s really too bad his store had to be cast off to make room for the UI’s School of Art + Design gallery. I’m sure they’ll bring something new to the fabric of downtown Champaign, but they have some big shoes to fill.

Related Articles