By now, the news it out: Uncharted Books is leaving the neighborhood. I reported on the news yesterday for Block Club Chicago and has since been circulated in the community. However, let’s not forget that LoganSquarist was here when Uncharted began seven and a half years ago and covered its beginning. We are almost the same age!
Now, it’s only fitting that we cover one chapter’s ending and send Tanner, Ramona, Rachel, Emily and others at Uncharted well wishes for future adventures.
As owner Tanner McSwain told me, he is looking at the move as a forward-thinking change, a positive one that does not represent his disdain or dislike for Logan Square. In fact, it’s the opposite. While he could not find an appropriate building in the area to move to, he reassured me he and Ramona will still hang in Logan Square.
This was my first neighborhood when I moved to Chicago,” McSwain said. “It’s where all of my roots are, where all of my friends are; where almost all of my Chicago experiences are so it was a tough decision to leave and not something we could take lightly.”
Looking back to when it opened in 2012, McSwain said Logan Square was a perfect spot. Its small-town energy and nice local community enabled him to put down roots in a place he always imagined his business would grow.
“We are not fancy but we also have the big city [and a] curated section,” he said of the bookstore.
Its interesting unique selection and experience brought hundreds of regulars to sit in the corners of the store, hang with Ramona and dive into local authors and book clubs. Students would find a cranny and read after a school day, and Uncharted was always active in neighborhood events.
He said the community has deep roots for him and his business, which won’t break away just because Uncharted is moving to Andersonville. Yes, it’s very sad and I was personally shocked to hear that a longstanding business with such a strong community impact and support would leave the area. But the truth is, times are changing and independent businesses feel the brunt.
With new developments and big developers buying plots of land, it’s difficult for locals to hold onto their buildings, especially if they do not own them. McSwain said he would love to own a building, but Uncharted does not make enough money to purchase a building—at least not yet.
“We are doing this for the health and survival of the bookstore, not because we are fed up [with Logan], he said.
McSwain said he and the business is shifting gears to a bigger space that is more up-to-date and has a special membership area, which will double as events at nighttime. Popular comedy show “Congrats On Your Success” will be moving with the business, a sign of true partnership, in my opinion.
To the hard-core regulars: yes, it marks a change in the neighborhood and I am sad about the loss. But we can still visit former Loganites and do our part to contribute to local businesses.
Go visit the new Uncharted Books in Andersonville at 5140 N. Clark St. It will have a wider selection of books, an additional community and event space and more consistent foot traffic. And Ramona, the “queen of the bookstore,” will still have her own stage in the window. McSwain said he will build her a small thrown, similar to what we have seen in the window, but it’s going to be upgraded. Now that’s royal treatment!