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The Lookout | March 1, 2021

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Gibson’s Bookstore to close doors

Gibson’s Bookstore to close doors
The Lookout

By Aaron Emerson
Editor in Chief

A mainstay in the downtown Lansing and LCC community is set to close at the end of the spring semester.

Gibson’s Bookstore, which got its start in East Lansing in 1955, is closing, according to co-owner David Poquette.

Started by Poquette’s grandfather and father out of the back of a car, the bookstore is scheduled to close in May. A piece of the family-owned business is going to remain intact, however.

The adjacent cafe, “Gibson’s Books and Beans,” is still going to remain alive. It will be renamed “Books and Beans Cafe.”

The cafe will be owned by Poquette’s niece and Gibson’s Bookstore co-owner Matt Buche’s daughter, Danielle Kingery, and her husband, Steve Kingery.

Poquette said LCC’s deal with Missouri-based MBS Textbook Exchange in 2015 is to blame for the financial problems Gibson’s Bookstore is undergoing, which is why they are closing.

“We figure that 70 to 80 percent of LCC students are on financial aid,” Poquette said. “But now 70 to 80 percent of that money that was spent locally is now mainly going to Missouri.”

LCC previously gave financial aid students funding to buy textbooks wherever they chose.

A few years ago, the college allowed bookstores to bid on a voucher program, which meant financial aid book money could only be spent on the best bidder. That bid was awarded to MBS.

Gibson’s sued the college in 2015 over the voucher program, but dropped it a few months later due to not having enough money to continue the lawsuit, Poquette said.

According to the Lansing State Journal, Gibson’s Bookstore owes the City of Lansing over $3,800 in jeopardy property tax liens. The reported jeopardy tax liens mean municipalities are worried the business won’t be able to pay owed taxes; or sometimes meaning businesses that are reportedly closing won’t be able to continue their payments.

Poquette disputed the LSJ report, saying that is not a reason why Gibson’s Bookstore is closing, however. He said his business is all caught up in property taxes.

“We thought we were all paid up,” Poquette said. “These taxes aren’t due until June. We didn’t even find out about this until we came across the article.”

The Lansing State Journal quoted LCC spokeswoman Devon Bradley as saying, “our commitment has been and continues to be lowering textbook costs for our students.”

Bradley was not immediately available for comment at the time of The Lookout’s publication.

Kingery, who is 29, has worked at Gibson’s since she was a child. She said she is happy to be able to continue on the legacy of her family’s business. Her mother, who passed away when she was a senior in high school, started the cafe portion of Gibson’s.

“It was what my mom loved,” Kingery said. “It’s really important for me to carry that on for her. We just are hoping that everyone in the community still supports us.

“We know there are a lot of students and faculty who still support us. We just hope that we can still stay here and carry everything on. It’s important and we’ve been here for so long and we don’t want to leave.”