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Libertyville's Crocodile Pie set to close in July
By Russell Lissau | Daily Herald Staff

Actor and author Henry Winkler was among Crocodile Pie's many visitors, making an appearance last year. The Libertyville store is set to close in July.

 

Mark Black | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/8/2008 12:13 AM

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The long, colorful tale of a popular Libertyville children's bookstore will mark its final chapter this summer, the shop's owner said Wednesday.

Crocodile Pie, set in the Cambridge Plaza shopping center at 866 S. Milwaukee Ave., will close its doors at the end of July after nearly 19 years in business.

Owner Kim White called the decision to close bittersweet.

"It's just time to do other things," said White, 52, of Lake Forest. "My kids are now out of college and I want to travel and be with them."

Crocodile Pie has featured storytime sessions, helpful and knowledgeable employees and a colorful, welcoming atmosphere. It's also attracted many authors and illustrators, including Henry Winkler, Eric Carle and Mary Engelbreit.

Unlike many other independent stores, Crocodile Pie survived the rise of the Barnes & Noble and Borders warehouse-sized booksellers in the early 1990s. It also weathered the ascension of Amazon.com, Wal-Mart and other now-popular book outlets.

Although the opening of a Barnes & Noble in nearby Vernon Hills bit into the store's sales receipts initially, customers returned to Crocodile Pie, White said. Amazon.com never really had an impact, she said.

"For children's books, a parent or child want to touch the pages," she explained. "A children's book is a very tactile experience. And it's difficult to touch a book on the Internet."

A going-out-of-business sale is set to begin in mid-June. Even so, White is interested in selling the store rather than simply shuttering it.

As word of the store's closing leaked out, customers have asked whether a buyer has materialized, but so far none has, White said.

She's still hopeful.

"I would love it if it could continue on," she said.