SUTTONS BAY — Brilliant Books will close its doors in Suttons Bay after five years as the village’s independent bookstore.
The store’s Traverse City location, which opened in 2011, remains open.
Brilliant Books will not renew its lease at 305 St. Joseph in Suttons Bay after a disagreement over rent. Owner Peter Makin said his landlord would not negotiate after he requested a lower rent. Landlord Will Case said he could not accept the lower figure offered by Makin, but he would not have increased the rent.
Brilliant Books will be out of the Suttons Bay location by the end of March.
An hour after releasing the news on Brilliant Books’ Facebook page, Makin received an offer from an East Coast-based customer to purchase the store’s children’s book section to donate to schools. The Suttons Bay store will sell the remainder of its books at 30 percent off.
Heather Mork, operations manager at the Traverse City location, said their ability to offer free, cross country shipping will not change. Amalia Venturi, the Suttons Bay store manager and sole employee, will join the three staff members in Traverse City.
The Suttons Bay location is about half the size of the 3,600-square-foot Traverse City store.
Makin is exploring options to rent another space in the village.
“If we could be back in Suttons Bay, we would. It’s a great little village,” he said.
Venturi said the main sentiment from Suttons Bay customers Friday was “we had better find another place.”
“Suttons Bay needs an independent bookstore,” she said.
Many Suttons Bay residents visit the Traverse City store when running errands in the city, Makin said, but there’s a client base of locals, the store’s “bread and butter,” who’d rather not venture far to buy books.
“Having a place where you can see and visit and be with tangible books, I think that’s important,” Makin said.
The Suttons Bay store closed last winter due to software problems after opening the Traverse City location, Makin said. He estimated the Suttons Bay store generally did roughly 10 times more business in summer months than in the off-season, thanks to tourists.
Makin and Mork said Suttons Bay is where Brilliant Books belongs. Makin invested sweat and tears in that storefront and operated it mostly on his own for the first three and a half years of business, he said.
Karen Pontius, president of the Suttons Bay Chamber of Commerce, said the closure will be a huge loss to the area. Their customer service will be missed.
“If they didn’t have it, they’d get it for you. I think that in and of itself says a lot,” she said.