At a recent reading, I overheard some chat about a new independent bookstore opening up in Northville. Could it be? An indie? In this market? Intrigued by such a noble and radiant pursuit, I decided to chase-up the rumors with a little literary field trip.
At a time when the only risk one might take in the Detroit metro area is that of the board game variety, Dan and Kathy Comaianni are living their dream. Actually, they’re living my dream. Yet, while I’ve only toyed with the idea of procuring my own bookstore, the Comaianni’s have turned their vision to reality with the opening of The Next Chapter Bookstore & Bistro located in downtown Northville.
Honestly, I did not pick the best day in May for my jaunt (think cold, very wet, and very windy), but even in the relentless rain it was hard to resist the pastoral charms of downtown Northville. Despite the downpour, cheerful storefront awnings stretched toward the narrow red brick road of Main Street. As I looked through the haze of rain coursing down my windshield I caught a brief glimpse of my destination; The Next Chapter Bookstore. With its warm bistro lights glowing through the glass front patio doors, I honestly couldn’t think of a more inviting locale.
While quaint is too olde and hip is too fly to describe this little gem, The Next Chapter strikes an easy balance of traditional and contemporary flair. The aromatic smell of Michigan’s own Great Lakes Coffee greets you at the door and immediately invites the eyes toward a tasteful display of pastries and gourmet coffees in the small bistro area of the shop. Oddly, on this particularly dreary day the cafe was hopping with locals who seemed pleased with a fresh spot for conversation, a warm cup of joe, and of course, glorious books.
Unlike the biggies, The Next Chapter is certainly not a space you’ll get lost in but rather enjoy its tighter independent charms. Posted bestseller lists are featured within winking distance of their corresponding selections, and separate shelving efficiently positions the latest indie picks. Most titles are recognizable and are likely to ring a bell for those who follow the top titles. Considering it had only been a week since the doors opened, I suspect lesser known titles will filter in as the Comaianni’s receive neighborly feedback.
Also a boon for the neighborhood is the large meeting space in the lower level of the store. Created for study groups and book clubs, the space had in fact already been used for a test-prep by a group of local high school students. The downstairs can be reserved for a variety of literary activities upon contacting the store. Also noted is a small children’s section tucked on the main floor. Though the patio was closed due to the weather debacle, the street side deck is a dream and I vowed to return on a sunnier day to enjoy its charms.
Not one for televisions, I personally would have opted out of the large flatscreen that outfits one of the cafe walls; I simply can’t justify one in a bookstore. However, I’m aware that one must compete in a tough market and I’m sure there must have been consumer demand for it. Also on the tech side, The Next Chapter offers free Wifi with easy access for the laptop set.
After I had my little tour, enjoyed a great cup of coffee, and confirmed the rumors, my field trip sadly came to a close. If you happen to be a reader (or coffee drinker) passing through the Northville area, I highly suggest dropping in and giving The Next Chapter a peek. You can click here for store hours and location information. What did I buy, you ask? Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes.
*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.
-Post by Megan Shaffer