Goodbye to Loome Booksellers

$33,418 of $120,000 goal

Raised by 381 people in 10 months

We are Loome Theological Booksellers, as far as we know, the world's oldest theological bookstore.

You can find us on Main street in historic downtown Stillwater, the birthplace of Minnesota, on the beautiful St. Croix River and WE NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP US HERE!

Back in the 1970s, our founder, Doctor of Theology and college professor, Thomas Loome began rescuing books from dying libraries, monasteries, seminaries.  He gathered them from all over North America and England into our first brick and mortar location in the Old Swedish Covenant Church, also in Stillwater.  From there, year after year, he gave these books new lives by getting them into the hands,
and then the hearts and minds of the thousands of visitors to his bookstore.  They came, and still do, from all over the world.

Dr. Loome retired in 2008 and sold his bookstore to a couple of his employees.  Now I, Christopher Hagen, am the proprietor of Loome Theological Booksellers and I NEED YOUR HELP to keep our brick and mortar from going only mail order!

Six years ago I moved the bookstore and my growing family to a local farm to expand the available space to warehouse our collection of books and have room for new libraries and collections to process. We intended to stay there for the long-haul but, after five years, our landlord decided to repurpose the farm for his personal use and that left us with the sudden need to move.

But not just move, we had to find a place to move my family, we had to find a place to move the bookstore, we had to then move my family, and then move the bookstore.  Now, I have a large family and the bookstore was immense.  We had about six months to get this all worked out and accomplished.  However, after a troubled pregnancy, my family welcomed our seventh living child, months earlier than her due date, right in the middle of all this.  My daughter (and her visiting parents) spent months in the NICU at the hospital and finally came home to the farm under very difficult conditions.

I don't know how my family and the bookstore made it through 2017, but by the end of the year, both family and bookstore had moved off the farm and were settling into a new house and a new storefront for the bookstore.

In 2018 my family now lives in a good house in town and, my daughter, is a tiny, but very healthy 15 month-old.

At the new bookstore location, we've gone from welcoming, in a great month at the old location, about 100 visitors to the bookstore, to, in a normal month, welcoming over a thousand visitors. However, the increased sales have not been enough to overcome the financial aftershocks of getting my family and the bookstore through the storms of 2017.

That's why I need your help now.

My debt load, from the move, is now too heavy to pay and I don't see how we can continue to pay the expenses of an open shop without getting a significant amount of that debt load removed.

Our goal with this Go Fund Me Campaign is to raise enough money to pay down enough debt so that we can continue to have a brick and mortar open shop, right here, in our home, Stillwater, MN.

If you love Loome Theological Booksellers,

if you love independent bookstores,

if you love a space for strangers to meet and discuss God, the great authors, revolutionary ideas, and step back in time through the experience of our rare book collection,

if you love a bookstore that collaborates with local authors and artists to showcase what makes our St. Croix River Valley unique and engaging 

. . . then keep our brick and mortar from having to go only mail-order.

Contribute today and please tell your friends and family about our campaign.

Please send me an email if you know of donors or organizations whom you think would like to help us out.  Together we can keep this bookstore thriving on Main Street!

All monies raised will only go towards paying down debt for the bookstore.  If we raise enough money to pay down all the debt, then I will announce new fundraising goals and projects in an update.

Please pray for the work of Loome Theological Booksellers.

I will fight hard to keep this brick and mortar bookstore open here.

It is a good fight.

It is worth it.

We are worth it.
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Dear Friend of Loome Booksellers,

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Loome Booksellers is permanently closed.  After a lengthy fight to keep the doors open, which included your generous campaign contributions and unflagging support, the day came when the debt burden simply became too great for the business to bear.  As a consequence, our bank has a right to all the assets of the business.  Just last week, I signed all of the bookstore's inventory and other assets over to our bank.  I regret that this means Loome Booksellers cannot honor outstanding gift certificates or any store credit.  This abrupt closure was not the path I planned to take, but the decision was not mine to make.

What will happen to all the good books?

The bank is offering a one-time sale of all the inventory.  The price is $40,000 or best offer, due by Friday, March 22nd with the removal of all inventory before the end of April when a new tenant moves into the location.  Serious inquirers, please see more information at Loomebooks.com.

I will miss all of you, your emails, phone calls, and faces at the bookstore.  I started working for Dr. Loome at Loome Booksellers in 2002 and the good memories are vast and deep.  I would like to say goodbye to you in person if possible.  My family would love to welcome you to an Open House this upcoming Friday, March 22nd, from 4-7pm at the bookstore.  Since the inventory will be sold as a collection, no book sales will be possible during this time; just come to reminisce and to say good-bye to this store which meant so much to me, my family, and to many others.

My family appreciates your prayers and support during this time when we transition from bookselling to whatever God has in store for us next, which has not yet been revealed to us!  If it is something that you would like to do, financial gifts to help us during this transition time would be appreciated.  Therefore, going forward, the bookstore's Go Fund Me Campaign monies will now go directly to the Hagen family. 

With hope and gratitude,

Christopher Hagen, Former Proprietor
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We're still open but we still need your help!

We’ve used the campaign contributions thus far to make our debt payments the past 5 months. Thank you!

During this time we have served over 8000 visitors to our brick and mortar location. We acquired, boxed, and shipped over 50 boxes of books bound for the Pope Benedict XVI Theological Institute in Sri Lanka. These books were the 2nd installment for the most significant Catholic library in Sri Lanka. We provided exclusive distribution for the most comprehensive book on the Catholic sexual abuse crisis, SACRILEGE, (this is a dubious distinction, for we wish it was a book on a different topic!).* This book is out-of-print and we have the last available copies of this book in any quantity. Lastly, please see the earlier updates for the cost cutting measures that we've taken since this campaign began.

Where are we at?

We've run out of money to keep making our debt payments.

Please know that all the money contributed so far has been used exclusively to pay debt and not for the normal bookstore expenses (including salaries).

So, on this Giving Tuesday, this is a renewed appeal to:

CONTRIBUTE AGAIN if you are so inclined. Some of you indicated that you would give more later if there was still a need. There is still a need. We are not yet at the $120,000 goal.

TALK UP THE WORK OF LOOME BOOKSELLERS to friends and family and mention this campaign.

WRITE AN ARTICLE and submit it to your local Catholic/Christian or institutional publication.

PRAY for the souls of those who still find good and scholarly books at Loome Theological Booksellers.

PRAY for the staff of Loome Theological Booksellers for courage, humility, generosity, and prudence. PRAY for an increase in Faith, Hope, and Love.

I love all the people I meet at Loome Theological Booksellers and their satisfaction at finding good books. Most of the people who come to Loome Theological Booksellers express their gratitude that such a bookstore still exists! I completely agree with them. Please help us keep it open.

* You can order copies of SACRILEGE here (once we run out, there won't be more available): https://www.loomebooks.com/pages/books/213183/leon-j-podles/sacrilege-sexual-abuse-in-the-catholic-church

Read more about the significance of this book here: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/leon-podles-sacrilege-roman-catholic-abuse/
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I recognize an update is far overdue, but I'll explain the delay below.

The great news is that we are close to a fourth of the way to our goal of $120,000. Contributions have been coming in this summer from customers in the bookstore, checks mailed from all over the country, and online supporters.

Some more media coverage has been helpful as well:

Dave Hrbacek wrote a great article for our diocesan newspaper:

Jake Meador, after recently visiting the bookstore, decided to write an article about us for FIRST THINGS:

Lastly, Bear Woznick, a ninja, surfer, biker, interviewed me for his YouTube channel and radio show (this interview doesn't touch on the campaign, but covers my conversion to Catholicism and work as a bookseller):

So, where to from here? Can the brick and mortar stay open?

I wish I could say, "yes, we can stay open", but all I can say is, "yes, we are open for now." The bookstore needs all $120,000 to stay open for the long haul and we've raised enough to keep things going for another month or so.

Here's what I've been doing to keep this brick and mortar (which I love!) open:

Cut my salary by 1/3.

Picked up part-time accounting work which helps shelter and feed my family, but does take me away from the bookstore. This is why I haven't given an update sooner.

Reached out to friends in the media to help spread the word.

Negotiated with my lenders to seek terms of payment that make it possible to keep the brick and mortar open.

I let you know about these measures I'm taking to keep the bookstore open, not for your pity, but to show how important on open shop Loome Booksellers is to me.

Here's what you can do to help:

Pray for all the patrons who visit Loome Booksellers every day that they will find a life-changing book.

Pray for me; pray for courage, prudence, strength, trust, and humility, humility, humility, and gratitude.

Continue to spread the word, especially if you know of book and bookstore lovers who want independent brick and mortar bookstores to thrive. Be courageous and ask for monetary contributions!

Contribute again, if you're so inclined.

This campaign isn't over yet. The bookstore will be open through August and probably September. Thank you for your contributions of prayer, goodwill, word-of-mouth, and money thus far.


Christopher Hagen
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What an eventful and surprising couple of weeks the start of the campaign has been!

This morning we crossed the first $10,000 milestone (only 11 more to go!).

One of the local Twin Cities papers, THE PIONEER PRESS, interviewed me this week and will be featuring the campaign on Sunday.

The campaign recently received some national attention too! ( https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/06/28/loome-theological-booksellers-launches-campaign-to-keep-brick-and-mortar-location-open/)

Lastly, I started a new part-time job with the goal to take some of my family's financial burden off the bookstore as well.

Most importantly, the money contributed so far paid down enough debt to keep the bookstore open into July (yes, debt matters are that tight right now!). If the campaign finishes raising the $120,000 in July, we should be good to stay open for the long haul. If not, then another decision about keeping the bookstore open will loom (pun intended) before the school year starts.

Thank you very much, all of you, for your prayers, financial contributions, spreading the word, and your photographs, comments, and memories of this beloved bookstore. I am honored by your support and greatly encouraged.


Christopher Hagen

Please note: for tax purposes, you are not able to deduct your contribution as a donation. A friend of the bookstore recently reminded me to make everyone aware of this.
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$33,418 of $120,000 goal

Raised by 381 people in 10 months
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Daniel Shields
10 days ago
Mary Blosser
20 days ago
Paul Menge
26 days ago
Jeffrey Job
27 days ago
Cecilia Loome
29 days ago
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Andrew Armstrong
1 month ago
Lawanna Holmes
1 month ago
Tom Kiser
1 month ago
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