Transitions -- 'grooviest bookstore i...

Transitions -- 'grooviest bookstore in Chicago' -- closes

There are 32 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Aug 16, 2008, titled Transitions -- 'grooviest bookstore in Chicago' -- closes. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

I f Gayle Seminara-Mandel were going to recommend one book to people who have just suffered a deep loss, it would be "Peace Is Every Step" by the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Wayne, IL

#23 Aug 19, 2008
I've heard that there is someone who is interested in buying Transitions. There are bookstores of this type that are doing well. I was visiting Ann Arbor, MI a few years ago, and they have a huge bookstore downtown called Crazy Wisdom, which is similar to Transitions, but two stories with a tea room and free music on weekends. They seem to be thriving, from what I've heard. Unfortunately, there are a lot of "spiritual" people that open businesses and either don't have sufficient capital or just don't have solid business/management skills. I hope a new owner can make Transitions work.
dont worry about it

United States

#24 Aug 20, 2008
frumpy old cat person and anon are right - you people cannot imagine the toxic evil that place emanated in the back of house. I worked there as well and you can ask almost any person (except howard and gails loyal toadies)who worked there for an extended period and they will tell you that H & G's walk was way way way different from thier talk. Thank Gods that place has closed.

Naperville, IL

#25 Aug 20, 2008
"Spiritual" people being hypocrites? Surprise, surprise.

Chicago, IL

#26 Aug 29, 2008
Was there a few days before it closed. I just didn't know it was the last time I'd be in there. A curious place that I was always drawn to for about the last ten - twelve years or so. A place in the middle of busyness and near some crossroads. It is preferred that the spirits come and go among these crossroads and Transitions tried to be right in the middle. I stopped in (almost called in) one time and caught one of those speakers, a man who was a healer. A man we (20 to 30 people) were supposed to meet and hear speak. I could feel the power of that man and he could see us for what we really were. We were supposed to be there to hear him and I will never forget what he said to us. Transitions served it's purpose and it simply was time to go. This is the way it is supposed to be. So don't be sad. Be glad, for a new place of healing will arrive soon. It was a pleasure and until then, we will all meet among the spirits again.

Red Brother
Neo Dot Com

Chicago, IL

#27 Sep 6, 2008
The anger and cynicism expressed was completely shocking and I think in bad taste. Transitions helped me learn to recognize and deal with people like you.

Bless you all
Yet Another

United States

#28 Oct 14, 2008
Anonymous wrote:
I worked at Transitions as a couple of the other posters here did. I am not surprised they are closed. My experience was that of the frumpy old cat person above. Honestly can't believe they stayed open this long because they never paid any vendors and they paid their employees in pocket change. Not the best laid business plan.
Another previous employee here - I agree with all the other previous employees postings. I truly loved my fellow co-workers and our regular customers at Transitions. and I also loved the concept of the space - it really did provide so much to so many. But that was always so curious to me as the way things were 'in the back room' was a total contradiction to what the bookstore and learning centered presented to the public. We were treated horribly, and paid the lowest wages possible. They barely paid their vendors, if ever.
But I know a lot of good came out of the place - lifelong friendships, education, and healing. So in that sense - it will be missed. But in common business sense - that place really was operating on a wing and a prayer.

Naperville, IL

#29 Oct 22, 2008
A former employee who is a friend of mine told me it looks like Transitions is definitely not going to get revived. The deal with the guy who wanted to buy it fell through. I know this might sound silly to some, but I feel that Transitions was another uniquely Chicago institution that we've lost, just like the Berghoff and Marshall Field's. I suppose the Buddhist lesson of embracing impermanence would apply here, but it still leaves one with a bad feeling. A guy I know who's into metaphysical stuff told me he left Chicago because it was starting to feel "like the prison planet in Dune." I'm starting to agree with him.

Olympia, WA

#30 Oct 22, 2008
Wow! I too was surprised but not so surprised over the closing of "Transitions Bookplace"

Gayle and Howard had a business and they ran it as they saw fit. Sweet blessings to them and thier son Jackson.

Working at Transitions was such an adventure. There were only two days in my two and some odd years of working there that I didn't want to be there, most often I had a blast! Roberto would sure work my nerves...But I loved him so.

I learned so much, met so many wonderful folks, yeah the pay sucked but my 30% discount on books was well worth my time...Eventhough I don't have a one of them now after spending almost $3000.00 during my employee, but that's another story for another time.

Thanks to all of you...What a special time in my life...Have a wonderful life!
Just Me

Chicago, IL

#31 Nov 21, 2008
Last Thursday, November 20, 2008, at about 5 p.m., I walked from Fullerton and Clybourn to Transitions. I was surprised to see that it was closed. I had not been tuning to the news or anything, and obviously I had not passed by the place for a few months. I had also been out of town for weeks at a time... I feel compelled to let you guys know that I'm sorry the store closed and that I miss the store as well. Transitions Bookplace was my most favored place to have coffee and a snack. It helped me through my search for oneself. I bought a lot of new age, self-improvement and creativity books and tapes there. I also bought at least 3 pendulums there, a lot of new age cassettes and (later) cd's, and a water pump for making my own fountain. There were many points in my life when I worried too much and was depressed, and I always found some sort of solace and answers at Transitions. I thought it was a profitable venture and it was a great stop for many authors touring their books. I hope it opens again.
Young Kim

Morton Grove, IL

#32 Sep 18, 2009
I really hope that another bookstore like "Transitions" will emerge to fill the great void that has become of its absence. In todays' horrible economic times, we need a lot of "self help" and "wise words" to guide us.

United States

#33 Nov 15, 2009
I come from California and when I first went to transitions I loved it. It had an authentic spiritual vibe. But as time went on the vibrations became less and less positive. It had far more of a commercial feel to it. And then even started featuring horrid commercial mind rot like Valerie Bertanallis' weight loss nonsense. Who wants to go into a metaphysical bookstore and see that? I am not surprised it went out of business. But it is a real loss for those of us seeking spirituality, there were certainly many interesting guest speakers.

Woodstock, IL

#34 Dec 7, 2013
Blukat wrote:
I too was a former Transitions customer-turned-Employee, and am sorry for the many customers that will not be able to hang out at the Cafe, enjoy life in that upscale neighborhood, which before all the neighborhood renovations in the early 90's, was not so pretty.
Transitions was a place where people could come to begin their journey them the tools which to do exploratory searches. It was a place of serenity on the front, but in the back rooms, was another story, as the comment above illustrates. However, there was a good bond between many employees that was unique and memorable. There were several that even married each other!
I find that the internet and high gas prices are giving actual physical shops a run for their money now, and this type of business is not immune to this.
Sad to see things pass, but change, like the I-Ching quotes, is ever-present. Time for all involved to start new journeys! Good luck to all.

Five years later, I still have not found a carrot cake I like as much. I remember an employee saying that the cake did not come from a bakery, but was made especially for Transitions Café using a family recipe. I would treasure the recipe, if someone knows where I can find it.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Chicago Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
News Barack Obama, our next President (Nov '08) 4 min Canuk 1,745,321
Four letter word game (Dec '11) 51 min Julia 2,572
{keep A word drop A word} (Oct '11) 54 min Julia 12,223
Double Word Game (Dec '11) 55 min Julia 3,809
Word (Dec '08) 58 min Julia 6,965
Last word + 2 (Mar '12) 59 min Julia 1,065
Change one letter in the word (Mar '12) 1 hr Julia 64

Chicago Jobs

Personal Finance

Chicago Mortgages