Save Uncle Hugo’s – April Update

The search for the future location of Don Blyly’s Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s bookstores is still going on he told subscribers in his April update. The two stores were burned by vandals on May 30 while protests were happening elsewhere in Minneapolis. Blyly has since cleared and sold that lot, and is looking to reopen elsewhere assisted by the Official Help Save Uncle Hugo’s Fund at GoFundMe which has raised $184,085 to date.

Fans will also enjoy The Uncles Stories Project, a new website created by his oldest daughter.

Don Blyly

Here are the highlights of Don Blyly’s April 12 “How’s Business?” update.

It’s been about 3 months since my last update, so I’m going to explain what has been going on.  I continue to go through the new real estate listings every week and drive around to look at one to three new options every week.  I’m now looking at both places to buy and places to rent, although buying is still my preferred option.  If I get to a possible location and can’t find a place to park within a block, I cross it off the list, assuming that customers also wouldn’t be able to find a place to park. 

About a week ago I saw a For Lease sign for a space in a strip mall about half a mile from where I originally wanted to buy, so I called to see what they wanted in rent.  For this space with half the retail space of the old location and no basement (but lots of off-street parking) they wanted $6000 per month.  There is no way that the store could afford that much rent. At this point I have my eye on four places that are for sale which might work, but none are as good as my original Option #1.  Option #1 had about 80% of the retail space as the old location, plus a large basement, plus lots of parking. 

The other places I’m looking at have around half the retail space of the old location, usually with no basement, and with varying amounts of parking.  Since it has been about 100 days since I was told that Option #1 would either be sold or back on the market within 90 days, and neither has happened yet, I called the listing agent today to find out what was going on.  He told me that the prospective buyer got a 30 day extension to do more due diligence, and the agent still wasn’t sure if the deal would go through.  I assured him that I was still interested, and he said he would call me if the property became available again.  I will continue to go through the new real estate listings every week, but I’m willing to wait another month to see if Option #1 becomes available again unless I find a really wonderful deal.

… Also, the price of lumber has approximately tripled in the past year, so I’m hoping to be able to move bookshelves from my basement to the new location.

Blyly continues to sell off his personal collection of books, with the money going toward reopening the Uncles.

I’m continuing to list my personal library on and I’m now listing the authors whose name begins with G.  (I was working on Iain M. Banks at the time of my last update.)  You can view the Uncles’ Abebooks listing by going here and click “View this seller’s items”.  You should be aware that none of the images of the books are supplied by me, but rather are stock images from Abebooks which may or may not be accurate.  Also, Abebooks wants to sell books, not necessarily just my books, so they make it easy to accidentally go from viewing the Uncles books to viewing books from hundreds of dealers. 

He advises customers:

Abebooks takes a commission on both the price of the book and on the shipping charge, so I make more money if you buy directly from me instead of through Abebooks (email me with what you want to buy and I’ll explain how to go about it). If you only want to buy one book, it costs you the same whether you go through Abebooks or directly through me, but if you want to buy multiple books you will save on shipping by buying directly from me.  The money from selling my personal library will go into the pot of money to try to re-open the Uncles. 

5 thoughts on “Save Uncle Hugo’s – April Update

  1. I’d be surprised if he re-opens in Minneapolis. If rioters burned down my store, I’d be a little gun-shy about re-opening in the same city. Well, it’s his call. Off to Abebooks to spend way too much money acquiring some of Mr. Blyly’s treasures!

  2. @Miles Carter, as I understand it, it wasn’t “rioters” that burned his store. The protests happened miles away. It was vandals, pure and simple.

  3. It was rioters. Vandals put toilet paper in trees, throw eggs, etc. People that destroy property at the scale of Uncle Hugo’s are rioters.

    The protests happened miles away.

    Uncle Hugo’s was at 2864 Chicago Ave. The block of Chicago south of his store to Lake Ave had a dozen or so businesses burned down or otherwise destroyed. Lake Ave runs east-west for about 5 miles between the Mississippi river and Lake of the Isles, and it was the focus of the riots. Hundreds of businesses were burned down, looted, damaged, or destroyed on that thoroughfare.

    Uncle Hugo’s was near the center of the riots. map of riots

    See the figure “EAST LAKE STREET NEAR MIDTOWN GLOBAL MARKET” in the article here for the immediate locale of Uncle Hugo’s

  4. bill: Since I don’t know where you’re trying to go with this I am adding this information:

    His bookstores burned. Don Blyly wants to keep selling — June 2, 2020

    Blyly said he’s been told there are images of the possible arsonist who torched his business online.

    “A white guy with a mask,” he said. “Apparently, out there on the internet there’s video of him doing it.”

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