The Bookstore is proud to continue to be a vibrant part of the Glen Ellyn community, as it has been for over 57 years. Generations of readers started out at our store, and many bring their own children and grandchildren back to enjoy the down-to-earth comfort of a real old-fashioned bookstore.
The Bookstore in Glen Ellyn was founded by Vic and Rosamond Du Jardin prior to 1960, but moved to its current storefront at 475 N. Main Street in Glen Ellyn sometime in 1960. The old brick building dates back to 1892, and was originally home to McChesney's General Store. When McChesney's moved out, they left behind an old safe that looks like it belongs in a wild west movie. We still use that safe today.
The Du Jardins were a colorful pair; Rosamond Du Jardin was the author of teen fiction set in the malt shop era, including such titles as Senior Prom, Boy Trouble and Double Date. Vic Du Jardin was an avid reader. According to village legend, if you came in the store and asked Vic for a certain book, he'd interrupt his own reading, put his finger in his book to mark his spot, and point vaguely over to a part of the store, saying "if we've got it, it's over there." He would continue reading until you came to the cash register, at which time he would ring up the sale, make change and put your book in a bag, all without losing his place in his book.
Jack and Marguerite Rice purchased The Bookstore from the Du Jardins in 1973. According to their son David Rice, it was named "The Book Store - M. Rice - Prop. 1973" in order to hearken back to the small town stores his parents had known in their youth. David remembers many New Year's Days spent doing end-of-the-year inventory at the Book Store with his extended family, watching bowl games on a portable TV they'd set up in the store.
In 1987, Marguerite Rice was ready to retire and sold the Book Store to Barb and Dwight Reed, who combined Book Store into one word, expanded the book selection and eventually brought The Bookstore into the computer age. The Reeds continued as owners until 1997, when they retired to devote more time to their second independent bookshop in the popular vacation area of Frankfort, Michigan.
Jane Stroh had been an employee of the bookstore since 1985, and in 1997, she and her husband Tim purchased it from the Reeds. Although the store was known in town as "The Bookstore," its official name became "Just the Bookstore, Inc." When people asked Jane for the name of her new business, she responded, "The Bookstore," and they would say, "just The Bookstore?" Jane's reply was always, "Yes, Just The Bookstore."
Under Jane's leadership, the Bookstore became much more than "just" a bookstore in our community. Jane formed many partnerships with local organizations, including the Library Summer Reading Program, the Bridge Communities Holiday Gift Book Drive, Blind Date with a Book to benefit the Glen Ellyn Children's Resource Center, and Breakfasts at the Bookstore to support other groups. She also started many traditions such as Annual Book Group Night, monthly newsletters, and one of her absolute favorites: her carefully curated list of holiday books for children.
After spending nearly half her life at 475 N. Main Street, Jane retired in 2017. She is looking forward to spending more time with her family, volunteering in the community, and having more free time to read books.
Longtime customers, Shannon Burgess and Gail Dickson, purchased The Bookstore from the Strohs on January 1, 2018. They both have daughters who worked at the store as teen staffers, and they recognized the value The Bookstore brings to the community. Shannon and Gail believe strongly in the importance of local, independent bookstores and look forward to continuing to connect readers to a wide range of books for many years to come.
While the official name is changing slightly to The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn, it will continue to provide the same great customer service and dedication to our community that it has been providing since 1960.