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Bookworm planning South Dakota sequel

A staple in the Houghton bibliophile scene is pulling up roots this weekend. The Bookworm is closing after a nearly 17 year run in the city. Owner Arthur Lampinen says the move will enable him and his wife to be close to her side of the family after they end up in South Dakota. That isn’t the only reason for the change though. Lampinen shares that the building he leases is being sold, and a bookstore and coffee shop weren’t in the plans for the new owner.

When faced with the prospect of moving locally, Lampinen says it had to be somewhere downtown and that wasn’t an option. When the Bookworm first opened it was on Sharon Avenue, near the Dairy Queen. For over a decade, Franklin Square was its home and Lampinen says that can’t be beat.

We just really like being downtown, so that’s why when we looked also in South Dakota we looked in two different towns and both of those locations were in the downtown area.

They settled on the tourist haven of De Smet, known for its connection to Little House on the Prairie. Lampinen hopes to be open in his new location by mid-May in time for the summer season. South Dakota enjoyed a boom last year, as few restrictions were put in place for COVID-19. Lampinen says that has nothing to do with the move.

The Bookworm closes on Saturday. The new store will only sell new books, along with coffee, gifts, and ice cream. If you plan to visit the Lampinens to rekindle old acquaintances, search out the De Smet Mercantile and Coffee House.

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