Fan bookstore moves out; new tenant lined up

Black Swan Books is leaving The Fan after 22 years. (Photos by Mike Platania) 

Black Swan Books is moving from 2601 W. Main St. to 3310C Rosedale Ave., just north of Scott’s Addition.

Owner Nick Cooke said the Fan location closed Dec. 31 and they’re looking to reopen in the new location later this month.

He said the change is driven by the prevalence of online sales in Black Swan’s business.

“People shop differently than they used to, and at the same time, we’ve evolved,” Cooke said. “We’re selling different things from what we sold 16 years ago. We’re an online business now.”

Cooke founded Black Swan in 1997 with a shop near the intersection of Meadow Street and Monument Avenue. In 2003, he bought the building at 2601 W. Main St. and moved the shop there in 2004.

Black Swan will soon be based out of a space in Scott’s Addition.

Though it’s focusing on online sales, and its roughly 2,800-square-foot new space is in an industrial park, Cooke said the store will be open for retail sales.

Black Swan carries used and rare books, some of which date to the 16th century. Cooke estimates Black Swan has about 8,000 books in stock, nearly all of which are available on its website.

“People don’t generally wander in and say, ‘Oh here’s a nice book for $500, I think I’ll buy it,’” Cooke said. “We also sell non-book things like manuscripts, personal letters, and photographs and scrapbooks. Just different things that are printed but not necessarily books.”

Black Swan also has a shop in Staunton, Virginia, which Cooke said will be unaffected by the Richmond store’s move.

Cooke said he is finalizing a deal for a new tenant to move into his former storefront, but that he can’t disclose details.

Documents filed with the city and Virginia ABC indicate it soon may be home to a specialty convenience store. Late last month, 3 Hens Inc. filed plans with the city to change the use of the space to a specialty food and drink store.

3 Hens also applied for a retail ABC license at the location in November for “Chacus Black Swan Market,” an entity tied to Mohammad Munir, who was unavailable for comment.

Brunch opened across the street earlier this week in the old Starlite space.

The potential market would join another recent arrival in the neighborhood. Brunch, a sister restaurant to Rueger Restaurant Group’s Lunch/Supper!, opened this week across the street from Black Swan in the former Starlite Dining & Lounge at 2600 W. Main St.

After 15 years in the Fan, Cooke said he and his staff were emotional when closing the shop one final time on New Year’s Eve.

“We have loved being here,” he said. “It’s a little sad to close in this location but we are adjusting to realities and are excited about what’s next.”

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5 Comments on "Fan bookstore moves out; new tenant lined up"

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MIchael Dodson
Guest

Sad we are loosing a good tenant/neighbor for an upscale 7-11. It will be interesting to see if the new tenant survives as the the old Seiberts/BP is well loved with free parking, there are LOTS of other small, lower prices stores all around it (Sunny Market is well stocked), the parting lot behind book store is tiny and the larger lot now charges to park, and we know what happened just down the road with the European Market and Harvest Grocery/JM Stock stores. West Main has not been kind to “upscale” markets.

Bert Hapablap
Guest

I agree, parking is an issue for any new tenant in that location. I also think the loss of Black Swan has just as much to do with selling a product that doesn’t need a physical location anymore with online sales. It’s sad to see so many retail business leaving physical locations but it’s adapt or die nowadays.

Tim Harper
Guest

I live in the area and I will certainly shop there if it’s a legitimate food market. Unfortunately, most of the recently opened markets in the Robinson/Cary area are quasi-convenience stores that offer an inventory only of expensive beer and stale bread.

Justin Reynolds
Guest

It’s unfortunate to see a local bookstore leave The Fan, but the possibility of having a tenant that offers more to the area could be nice (the market idea doesn’t add much either). Carytown Teas would’ve fit here better than their new location on Cary St.

elaine wood
Guest

Bad enough to see Chop Suey lose their original location to a convenience store, most unfortunate that another long-time local bookstore seems slated to be replaced by yet another one. How many beer and wine ‘quick marts’ does this city need, anyway?

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