Books & Mortar Starts Second Chapter with New Owner

Books & Mortar founders with the store's new owner.

Books & Mortar is beginning its second chapter. Two years after opening the business, the founders of the neighborhood bookstore, Jonathan Shotwell and Christopher Roe, announced earlier this week via email that they’ve sold the store to Jenny Kinne.

Kinne is a former Books & Mortar employee. She takes over ownership of the store beginning on Nov. 1.

“I am extraordinarily honored to lead Books & Mortar into its next chapter here in Grand Rapids,” Kinne said. “I have worked alongside Christopher and Jonathan for the past year as ‘Bookseller Jenny,’ soaking up as much of their wisdom, kindness and book smarts as possible. I cannot imagine two better visionaries and mentors to look up to as I step into this exciting space.”

In their announcement, Shotwell & Roe said it was always their plan to find a “sustainer” to run the business long term.

“At the onset of our business venture, we always knew Books & Mortar was going to be a start-up project for us. We are starters, entrepreneurs, visionaries and creators. We know ourselves well enough to always be on the lookout for the sustainers who can come alongside us and eventually take over for the long haul; so goes the life of a true entrepreneur.”

The pair added, “While we would be lying to say that there isn’t at least some sadness that comes with saying ‘goodbye,’ the reality is that we are about to become even more involved in the community.”

Roe plans to settle into his new role at Fountain Street Church and Shotwell will pursue opportunities for community organizing and development.

Jenny Kinne has worked at Books & Mortar for the past year. She takes over ownership of the store on Nov. 1.
Jenny Kinne has worked at Books & Mortar for the past year. She takes over ownership of the store on Nov. 1.

In addition to her role with Books & Mortar, Kinne has also been employed with the Michigan League for Public Policy. She said she will leave that organization to run the bookstore full time.

“Making the decision to leave my public policy career in order to run Books & Mortar is tough for me. I am deeply passionate about studying public policy and working to change our political system. Thankfully, Christopher and Jonathan have embraced this passion of mine, and they have demonstrated how political activism can become an integral part of a bookstore’s mission,” she said.

Kinne has vowed to continue Books & Mortars progressive reputation.

“I know that for me, and many of us, saying farewell to Jonathan and Christopher is going to be hard. I cannot put into words how much they mean to me, and I assure you that I am going to work every day to honor and build upon their legacy,” she said.

Books & Mortar is located at 955 Cherry St. SE.