The wife-and-husband team of Margaret and David Magle, owners of OtherWorlds Books & More, have always joked about running the entire right side of the lower floor in the Park Place Mall on Sturgeon Bay’s 3rd Avenue.
“We laughed about it and thought it was never going to happen,” Margaret said.
But “never” came quickly for the business that offers a wide variety of new and used books, games and toys, and the county’s largest stock of comic books.
In 2018, the Magles had one room; this year, they will have five. In four years, the business has expanded from 450 square feet to close to 2,000 square feet. And none of that space will go to waste.
“For as many books as we have [displayed] now, we have as much in storage,” Margaret said.
Which is not an understatement. They have 17,000-plus back-issue comics going back 50 years.
Although the updated space will allow the Magles to provide more for their customers, the expansion was also driven by an immediate need for accessible space. David uses a wheelchair, and many spaces are difficult for him to navigate because they’re not large or wide enough. Margaret backs him out of tight spaces, but it’s not ideal for him or customers who use mobility devices or are pushing strollers.
To be ADA compliant, the width of a passage must be 32 inches, but the Magles are going for 34 inches to add even more roominess.
A final use for the larger space will be expanding and adding a few departments, with each room having a focus. When entering the building and walking down the hall, on the right will be used books in the first room; new books in the second; works by local authors and vintage books in room three; games, puzzles, gifts and the checkout in the fourth room; and comic books in room five.
Margaret said their store is often the source for a child’s first comic book, but OtherWorlds also wants to offer more resources for children. For example, a parent came into the store one day looking for a book for her daughter, who was scared about the upcoming military deployment of the woman’s husband. Margaret had just the thing: a children’s book about deployment, which is now a popular title in the store.
Margaret said the value of independent stores such as theirs is that they can find and highlight books that a person wouldn’t normally see in a big-box store, as well as offer a selection that more accurately reflects the wants and needs of the store’s community.
Work on the expansion will continue throughout the year, with the majority of the project being completed by Fire & Ice Weekend, Feb. 18-19. The Magles anticipate a few work weekends to complete odds and ends, along with finishing the flooring.
The store at 41 N. 3rd Ave. in Sturgeon Bay will remain open during the remainder of the project, so stop by to say hi and check out the progress.
You can follow along with the remodel by visiting the OtherWorlds Facebook page, where the Magles have been posting updates about and photos of their progress.