Carrie Rengers

Al’s Old & New Book Store opens at Block One

Al's Old & New Book Store owner Anita Siemer is moving her store from Delano (after about 40 years) to Block 1, the new development downtown. Right now, she’s operating at both locations.
Al's Old & New Book Store owner Anita Siemer is moving her store from Delano (after about 40 years) to Block 1, the new development downtown. Right now, she’s operating at both locations. The Wichita Eagle file photo

She’s not exactly what you would call ready, but Anita Siemer went ahead and opened her Al's Old & New Book Store in its new space at Block One on Tuesday.

“I think I sold one book,” she says.

Siemer says she’s moved only half of the 40,000 books she’s transferring from her store in Delano to the new retail center attached to the parking garage at Block One.

Slawson Cos. is handling leasing at the 8,500-square-foot center. Block One is anchored by the Ambassador Hotel and the Kansas Leadership Center along Douglas and a couple of properties Slawson Cos. is redeveloping to the south.

Since she moved her phone and computer, Siemer says, “We went ahead and actually opened the doors.”

For now, the Delano store will still be open when someone is there, and there will be a clearance sale there next week before that location closes for good.

Siemer says her new space is about 20 percent smaller. In addition to the 20,000 books she still has to move, Siemer says she’s going to try to sell, donate or store another 10,000.

“This has really been an exhausting effort,” she says.

“It’s hard to give up the old place, but the new place is nice. It’s starting to come together.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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