The Seminary Co-op Bookstores in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood has announced that veteran bookseller Jeff Deutsch will assume the responsibilities of director of the flagship store on Woodlawn Avenue, as well as its sister store 57th Street Books, on July 1.
Deutsch, who has 20 years of bookselling experience, has, since 2012, been director of the five stores in the Stanford University Bookstore Group, including the 60,771-square-foot flagship on the university’s campus. Deutsch previously worked at the Cal Student Store at the University of California, Berkeley.
In a letter to the 53-year-old Seminary Co-op’s 53,000 members, board chair Harry L. Davis said: “At both Stanford and Berkeley, Deutsch strengthened partnerships with academic departments and student groups across campus, enhanced the experience of bookstore employees, and significantly improved the financial situation of both stores.” Davis noted that Deutsch, a native of Brooklyn, worked in libraries as a teenager before becoming a bookseller.
The Seminary Co-op’s Bookstores’ board of directors announced the national search for a director after general manager Jack Cella retired last fall after 43 years; shortly after his retirement, the Seminary Co-op relinquished management of the Newberry Library Bookstore to its parent organization, an independent research library, to “better focus our resources on the broad and rich inventory and programming” at the Woodlawn Avenue and 57th Street bookstores. The two bookstores together employ about 25 people.
Deutsch, who is moving to Chicago in June, will be at the Woodlawn Avenue store on May 27 to meet with Seminary Co-op members during an open house. Deutsch told PW that he intends to “do a lot of listening and getting to know the community and culture” as he transitions from corporate to independent bookselling. There are some independent bookstores, including the Seminary Co-op and 57th Street Books, he says, that are “the paragons of what we do and what we are about.”