Aqua Books banner (Aqua Books)
In August, Aqua Books announced it was closing its doors. This place is not just a book store either. There are readings, book launches, concerts, plays, films, workshops and film showings.
Owner Kelly Hughes blamed the bookstore's demise on a cultural shift away from reading, towards more of a focus on the internet, facebook and smart phones.
The good news is that Aqua Books will continue to live on.
SCENE invited Kelly Hughes to provide an update.
I had a dream. In 1994, I started planning what would ultimately be a gathering place for people to explore ideas and celebrate burgeoning talent. The plan eventually turned into Winnipeg's Cultural City Hall. Over twelve years, we turned this dream into 8400 square feet of books, events and workshops, with a bustling restaurant to boot.
My late brother Brad showed me that interesting is always better than profitable, and every day I feel so lucky to work with people that are passionate about what they do. While we were doing renos on 274 Garry Street, he was on his deathbed. And he wanted details, details, details. After he died, I realized that life is too short to worry about your credit rating, or if people like you. Life is just long enough to do the best you can with what you have.
The last three-and-a-half years at Aqua Books have been so rewarding. And really difficult too. I haven't done everything right. We've had some bad breaks, and a few good breaks. In August of this year, we decided that the financial strain was too much. As with any big decision, there were lots of reasons. This is isn't a postmortem for a business class, so I won't bore you. To those who have come out of the woodwork to criticize, all I can say is, I've done my best. I guess I chose interesting over profitable.
But I love a good plan. So what's the new one? My wife Candace's restaurant, EAT! bistro will close on October 29, as she pursues new opportunities. A sympathetic investor is buying the building, and renting out the main floor to some cool folks. And the new compact version of Winnipeg's Cultural City Hall will live on - books, events and all - right here on the second floor of 274 Garry Street.
So come on down and say hi - I've got great deals on books. And let yourself be inspired at Winnipeg's Cultural City Hall!
Kelly Hughes (Aqua Books)
This content is provided by Kelly Hughes. The views expressed do not express the views of CBC. CBC is not responsible for this content.