Title Wave Books could be looking to move in wake of higher rent prices

Popular bookstore and Spenard hot-spot, Title Wave Books could be moving locations soon. The bookstore is currently changing ownership from longtime owners Julie Drake and Steve Lloyd to current employee and general manager Angela Libal. Title Wave Book’s lease is up in April and the popular used bookstore is currently deciding whether to stay or to go.

Title Wave Books and the entire Northern Lights Village have grown in popularity along with the rest of Spenard neighborhood over the last decade. Some call this newfound interest in Spenard the Spenardian Renaissance and the used bookstore, which has been in its current location since 2002, is not exempt from this neighborhood rebirth. Title Wave Books helped make Spenard a destination, appealing to people from around the city.

“I think the Northern Light/Spenard area would lose one of it’s most iconic stores,” Jacob Reausaw, a frequent customer at Title Wave Books, said.

Part owner of Dos Manos and general manager of Bear Tooth Theatrepub, Stephanie Johnson has been working in the Spenard area for over 16 years. She’s noticed traffic in the neighborhood grow over the years.

“Every year that Dos Manos has been open [10 and a half years] we’ve seen a steady increase in customers and continue to have people come in for the first time,” Johnson said. “I’m sure that part of this has been the changes to the neighborhood in addition to regular increases in business growth/exposure.”

Johnson, a frequent customer of the Northern Lights Village mall believes Title Wave to be a crucial element of the mall and neighborhood of Spenard.

“The Northern Lights Village has so many great businesses that attract a lot of people, myself included. It’s not uncommon for me to ‘run across the street’ for a coffee and end up popping into to Title Wave for a book I’ve been meaning to pick up,” Johnson said. “I think that Title Wave is one of the coolest stores in our community… It will be a big loss to the Northern Lights Village and the businesses there to lose them and depending on where they end up, it would be a big loss in convenience to myself and I imagine others.”

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Businesses understand the appeal the used bookstore has in the community and Title Wave’s relocation could have an effect on those businesses.

I would imagine that a huge appeal to renting a storefront there if you were a smaller store, would be the pull and synergy from the other businesses. Losing Title Wave feels like a pretty huge energetic shift. I can only imagine that if I were a smaller business in that same mall, part of the reason to rent there is moving out,” Johnson said.

Other residents believe the store’s relocation won’t affect the culture and charm of Spenard.

“I certainly have a lot of nostalgia associated with Title Wave Books. Its been a staple for a long time now, but I think some older residents, in particular, would agree with me in that it’s not something that will make or break Spenard,” Jacob Thompson, a resident of Spenard, said. “I don’t think seeing it gone will impact the atmosphere in Spenard, but it will most likely impact business and traffic through the area.”

George Hyde, a former multimedia editor at The Northern Light and resident of Spenard, enjoyed walking over to the used bookstore after the school day at West High School.

“It was always a quiet place to hang out and grab and read a book on the cheap,” Hyde said. “I will miss being able to just go there after school or after a Carrs run or something like that.”

Hyde, however, does not think the neighborhood will be affected by a relocation of the bookstore.

“I’m not sure how much it would change the neighborhood… I feel like a lot of loyal customers would make the effort to go just because they love the business,” Hyde said.

Created by former Gov. Wally Hickle in 1960, the Northern Lights Village was owned by Hickle’s investment company until 2006. Today the strip mall has two owners, Mush Inn Corp. and Yoo Jin Management Co. Ltd. Prices for rent have been rising since new ownership of the mall.

Title Wave first opened in 1991 on Northern Lights Blvd. Then the bookstore moved to Fireweed Lane in 1996, and then to its current location in 2002.

Possible locations for Title Wave’s move include the Mall at Sears and the University Center.

Store credit will remain under Title Wave’s new ownership, but only until March 15.