Bookends & Beginnings

Established: 2014 Business Type: Retail Known For: Thoughtfully curated selection of books, cards, journals, and games, as well as literary events.

Bookends & Beginnings is an independent bookstore located in the heart of downtown Evanston. For its first 8 1/2 years in business, Bookends & Beginnings was located in an ancient garage down the alley behind 1712 Sherman Avenue which had been home for 40 years before that to the antiquarian bookstore called Bookman’s Alley. Nina Barrett discovered Bookman’s Alley as a graduate student at Northwestern, when she came to Evanston to get a journalism degree at Northwestern in the 1980s. One of the very first stories she wrote for her local journalism class was a profile of that store–never dreaming
that this space would one day house her own bookstore.

Barrett went on to become a noted journalist, author, and food reporter, but 30 years later, when she heard that Bookman’s Alley was going out of business, she was determined that the beloved space in the alley would continue to be a bookstore, and she founded Bookends & Beginnings in that location, which was home to the business until 2022, when Barrett moved the store to its current location at 1620 Orrington Avenue.