‘There is a relentlessness to a retail business’: Crazy Wisdom Bookstore to close in February

Iconic Ann Arbor bookstore to close brick-and-mortar after 40 years

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Downtown Ann Arbor will have one less independent bookstore in February.

Crazy Wisdom Bookstore owners Bill Zirinsky and Ruth Schekter announced that they will either sell or close the iconic bookstore on Feb. 15, 2022, its 40th anniversary.

“There is a relentlessness to a retail business – open 7 days a week, 360 days a year, and to the hamster-wheel aspect of staffing and management issues. Our own family has grown up, and we’re in our 60′s, and we’re ready to look out upon a new and different horizon,” Zirinsky and Schekter said in an update on the store’s website.

Despite the pandemic, the bookstore had a profitable year after the closure of its upstairs tea room, the pair said.

They acknowledged the uniqueness of Crazy Wisdom and its impact on customers and the community.

“We and our longtime managers and staff, past and present, have so much gratitude for having had the privilege over these decades to serve people in our region who are searching in their lives — spiritually, psychologically, holistically, and in terms of sustainable and conscious living.”

The two intend for the brand to continue as “a beacon of consciousness” but not as a brick-and-mortar. Instead, they will focus on the Crazy Wisdom community journal, biweekly ezine and four associated websites.

Although the store will close in February, the Main Street building that houses the bookstore and tea room is not for sale. Zirinsky and Schekter own the space and plan to take some time to decide how it will be used in the future.

“So, in a sense, Crazy Wisdom’s bookstore operation will go “on sabbatical” as we consider our next steps,” they said. “At the same time, we invite and encourage others with a vision, younger than ourselves, to step into the role of providing a safe haven for seekers and countercultural imaginings.

Zirinsky and Schekter are open to “serious inquiries” about buying the store, renting the space or similar ideas. They can be contacted at billz@crazywisdom.net.

See the full update here.

Crazy Wisdom Bookstore is currently open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays at 114 S. Main St.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.