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SubText to moves to downtown St. Paul, plans grand opening

David Housewright at SubText

David Housewright at SubText

SubText Books has settled into its new home in downtown St. Paul, and is celebrating on Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Local city leaders will be in attendance, and St. Paul Poet Laureate Carol Connolly will read a poem. The event marks the end of a week of readings and performances held in honor of SubText’s new location.

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SubText manager Matt Keliher says they began exploring the option of moving back in October, when they were approached about a potential downtown location. After researching to see if the move was viable, they made the decision in March. The transition happened earlier this month. 

"[The new digs] offer a lot more visibility,” Keliher says of the move to downtown from Selby and Western. The store’s longterm plan is to host more events in their space, and over time “we will be able to offer some things we couldn’t be able to offer at our other location,” he says. 

They also have some like-minded neighbors, such as Eclipse Records and letterpress business Hamilton Ink Spot. Books, records, and letterpress “are all industries that were supposed to have gone away, but we are all thriving,” Keliher says.

The store plans to on do some cross-marketing with Eclipse, and use Hamilton Ink for designs. Meanwhile Park Square Theatre, also in the area, is putting on a show based on Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders, a book by local author Larry Millett; and Amsterdam Bar & Hall often has literary events, such as Books and Bars, that add to the general literary vibe of the neighborhood.

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All of the independent bookstores in the Twin Cities “are one big family. We all look out for each other,” says Keliher. At the same time, SubText is unique in their focus on locally produced books from independent presses and local authors. “I think our niche is promoting good literature,” he says.

The formal ribbon-cutting ceremony will be at 11 a.m. Friday, June 26. The new location is at 6 West Fifth Street in St. Paul.