Explore bookstore ‘saved’ through purchase by nonprofit organizations | AspenTimes.com

Explore bookstore ‘saved’ through purchase by nonprofit organizations

Explore Booksellers and Bistro in Aspen opened as usual at 10 a.m. Friday but with a new owner.

A $5 million sale of the popular bookstore went off without a hitch Friday morning, said Bob Ritchie, an Aspen real estate agent representing the buyer. “It’s been saved,” Ritchie said.

A limited liability corporation established by nonprofits under the umbrella of Public Interest Network bought the bookstore from entities controlled by Samuel and Cheryl Wyly. The sale was related to Sam Wyly’s bankruptcy proceedings in Texas.

Ritchie said it took considerable effort by listing broker Karen Setterfield and himself to make sure the bookstore didn’t have to close during the transfer of ownership. “We managed to get it arranged so there was no discernible change to the business,” he said. The bookstore at 221 E. Main St. retained its staff, character and charm.

Pubic Interest Network and its affiliated nonprofit organizations fight for environmental, social justice and consumer-rights causes. Employees of the organizations have visited Aspen on a December ski trip since 1984 and became fans of the bookstore, according to Doug Phelps, president of Public Interest Network’s board of directors. The organizations pool endowment funds and make investments that match their interests.

Phelps previously said the bookstore will hold more book signings and presentations. A goal is to get it to the point where it is at least breaking even as soon as possible, he said.

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