Bookstore could open at ‘Surplus’ site in May

       The story has still not quite started for a planned bookstore in part of the former Surplus City store on Colorado Avenue. But if it were a book, it would be getting close to the introduction.

The new, as yet unnamed, bookstore will move into the nearer, western side (currently vacant) of the two connected buildings that once housed Surplus City. Old Colorado City Surplus (entrance under awning at right) opened in 2006. The far western wall of the bookstore building (at far left) dates back to the 1860s.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Mike Riordan, a Michigan bookstore owner who had bought the roughly 12,000-square-foot space a year ago and predicted he would relocate there by summer 2009, agreed this week that the move “is obviously going much slower than I had hoped. It's taken longer to get out of Michigan, and I keep buying more books.”
       However, he has worked up a new schedule, which could have him in business at 2752 W. Colorado Ave. by May 1, he said.
       Before that, Riordan plans to spruce up the store interior. Work will include ceiling treatments, recarpeting, window repairs and removal of mezzanines left over from Surplus City days to “open it out a little more.” He's not sure of all the details yet, just that any remodeling will be a lot easier while the space is empty. “The truth is, once the books move in, it will be hard to do anything after that,” said Riordan, who estimates he has “north of 350,000” books (mostly used) at the store he has owned northwest of Ann Arbor, Mich., for the past 10 years.
       By March, the first of “15 to 17 big truckloads” of books and shelves should start arriving at his new location, he said. They probably won't come all at once, but he plans to open his doors on Colorado Avenue by the time he has 10,000 books shelved, and “we'll start flowing it thereafter.”
       Riordan will be helped in the business by his wife Janet, who specializes in children's books.
       He's not expecting to hire a lot of people. One employee is moving out with the store, another person has already been hired locally. Beyond that, he wants to wait and see how things go.
       The store relocation was prompted by a desire to leave Michigan, which Riordan said is plagued by “clueless politicians and minimal job opportunities.” On the plus side, he and his wife were attracted by the sunnier climate (weather as well as business) in Colorado Springs. He also has a sister living here. “It's absolutely ideal,” said Riordan, who has bought a house in the Skyway area.
       The bookstore will have as its neighbor Old Colorado City Surplus, which owns the eastern half of the former Surplus City space; the two will share the parking lot in back.
       Riordan doesn't yet know the name he will give his store, just that it will be different from the current name, which is tied in with the Michigan postal station where it's located. For obscure historical reasons related to a recalcitrant mill owner in the 1870s (details of which Riordan is happy to describe), the station is named Hell. So the current bookstore name is Books from Hell. But he is reticent to call it that in Colorado Springs, so as to avoid the wrong meaning being read into it.

Westside Pioneer article