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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday June 20th 2024

They’re Back!: The Return of the Uncles

By CARZ NELSON

“I’m happy to be open,” says Don Blyly, owner of twin bookstores Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore and Uncle Edgar’s Mystery Bookstore – known collectively as “the Uncles”.

When the bookstores were destroyed by looters during the George Floyd Uprising, many people assumed that Blyly would go into retirement and that would be the end of the Uncles. He smashed those expectations, relocating and rebuilding the stores in little more than two years.

Blyly isn’t the only one glad to see the stores reopen. Naturally, the Uncles’ return is welcomed by their many fans in the city, the state, and around the world. Perhaps the most excited, however, is Echo – the store’s canine mascot. She has enthusiastically resumed her duties as store greeter. She’s sure to give you a wag of the tail if you stop by.

The 5000 square foot building at 2716 East 31st Street is rich with character. Built in 1932, it features a WPA painting of Minnehaha Falls covering one wall. Glass art embedded in the floor at the entryway.reflects the building’s history as an art glass gallery. The Post Office wanted to purchase the building in order to tear it down and use the lot for parking. The previous owner didn’t want to see this special property destroyed so he chose to sell the building to Blyly, knowing that he would preserve it.

The shop has now been completely remodeled and it’s full of brand new bookshelves. In modernizing the building, Blyly was able to reduce the building’s environmental footprint. For example, the old fluorescent lights were replaced with new LEDs.

The Uncles are bustling with customers on a Sunday afternoon. The business is just beginning to settle into its new space. There are still some finishing touches to be made. New awnings with the stores’ names will be installed soon. There are still some empty shelves waiting to be filled with books. But these are just details. The important thing is, the Uncles are back.

Uncle Hugos and Uncle Edgars Bookstores

2716 East 31st Street

www.unclehugo.com

UncleHugo@aol.com

612-824-6347

Store hours

Monday to Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM

Sunday Noon to 5 PM

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