The beloved Loganberry Books in the Larchmere neighborhood won’t celebrate its 30th anniversary of until November 2024. But owner Harriett Logan was celebrating something else this week.
Logan marked 20 years in her current location—a 1926 warehouse that housed the former Nash Motor Company dealership at 13015 Larchmere Blvd. The 9,000-square-foot space is perfect for more than100,000 new, used, and rare books Logan carries, as well as for hosting author book signings, book clubs, and art exhibits.
“We did some cool things to celebrate,” says Logan of the store’s 20-year home. “We gave ourselves an excuse to bring out old Christmas books and put them on sale. And we did some archival homework and did some documentation on what the building used to be.”
In doing that archival homework, Logan says she learned a little more about the dealership.
“I heard through the pipeline that the dealership also had Studebakers,” she says. “Nash Motors started in Wisconsin and in the late 1920s and early 1930s they were making big, fancy cars, and later LaFayettes.”
In addition to the Nash dealership, Logan learned the building also housed a Lanco Wolverine aluminum window factory, a refrigerator showroom, a washing machine dealership, and then Wolfs auction house before Logan took it over in 2003.
Left, a shot of the building before Loganberry moved in and a current shot on the rightLogan first opened her bookstore in 1994, sharing a 4,000-square-foot space down the street at 12633 Larchmere with the former Dede Moore Oriental Rugs antique rug dealer. “It was a colorful and cozy place,” Logan recalls. “Both of our inventories grew, and I made the move first.”
In 2003, Logan seized the chance to move into the old Nash Motor dealership—remaining in the neighborhood where she had established the shop. While it was a larger footprint, Logan recalls the vastly different atmosphere—concrete floors and walls and five big rooms. A giant skylight spotlighted a large black-and-white checkered laminate floor in one room.
“It was a large, open space, with steel I-beam construction,” she recalls. “It was a concrete slab warehouse designed to hold cars. There were no columns. I wasn’t used to seeing a building that way.”
Logan quickly went to work, creating a warm and welcoming bookstore. The checkered floor was replaced with wood flooring, and parquet floors were laid throughout the space while the remaining concrete floors were painted, and every room was accented with colorful Persian rugs. Old tin ceilings add to the décor and, of course, wooden bookshelves were installed everywhere.
“The rooms are large, yet warm,” Logan says, “because we put in the wood floors and wood shelves.”
Logan recalls renovating and moving into her new, larger shop just before the big box bookstores like Borders Bookstores and Joseph-Beth with new retail models started moving into the area.
But Loganberry Books was already a step ahead—offering used and rare books, great customer service, unique programming, and a relaxed atmosphere. “We responded to the needs of the community,” she says. “It really was a game changer in terms of what we sell and how we sell.”
To this day, Logan lives by a credo of flexibility and tenacity. “Start at step one and work until you get there,” she advises. “It doesn’t happen overnight, but you keep working until you get there.”