MONTAGUE, Mich. — “People need a book to bring to the beach,” says Andrew Kuharevicz, co-owner and manager of the Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague. He’s speaking of residents and tourists during the area’s summer season. “They kind of want to, quote unquote, get off the grid a little bit. They don't want to have (to go) online. so they come to the bookstore, and they get a book, and they go to the beach, they go home and read, and get off the digital media for a while. I think that's a good escape with a book.”
But the Book Nook is preparing to resume its schedule of events that gives people even more chances to escape.
The shop is noted for its jazz nights, jazz festivals, bluegrass festivals, signings, and book clubs, all made even nicer with the bar and café. For now, the schedule is still limited but growing, but their annual West Michigan Wine & Jazz Festival is back: July 1-6.
This tradition of gatherings carried over for Nook fans despite the pandemic, Kuharevicz says. “Every Friday night, there's a Zoom happy hour they do here. They started it during the shutdown, but it's still people from all over the country. A lot of our customers are from all over the country, because they have houses here for the summer. And they meet up on Zoom and they talk ...And it's pretty popular, actually. They got like 20 people on this thing.”
The broad geographic reach of such groups reflects the area’s tourist appeal, and Kuharevicz points to the lack of corporate influence. “One thing I like about Montague is there's not a lot of retail establishment that is name brand kind of stuff that you see you if you go to Muskegon or Grand Rapids,” he muses. “Here, it's all locally owned, people who live in the community, and they all have something different. We've got a record store, we’ve got a couple new breweries here. We’ve got restaurants that are all very indie, they're independent. Everybody's independent here, and they all support each other very much.”