LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Hooked is one of the few shops in Lansing that can boast coffee, wine, and books. It can also boast about celebrating its first birthday.
Founders and spouses Matt Grossmann and Sarah Rechhow used their combined decades of experience with similar stores on the west and east coasts to bring something new to the Lansing area.
“We had been to a lot of places that had combined coffee shop and wine bar cafe kind of deal and travel and liked those places,” Grossmann said, “So we were interested in bringing something like that to Lansing.”
One of the factors that delayed founding Hooked, though they had moved to Michigan 16 years ago, was the fact that both owners also teach full time at Michigan State University.
“We have full time positions as professors at Michigan State and so it took us awhile to get in a position to do something like this,” he said, “In the meantime we took a sabbatical and we came to Massachusetts where bookstores are very central to the culture and bring in a lot of events, and serve as community hubs, so we added that to the plan.”
Plans for the tripartite store were further delayed by the pandemic, though it also offered an opportunity. During that time, they were able to really put together a business plan according to Grossmann, and they soon went public with it once a small business competition arose through Downtown Lansing, where they would become finalists and fine tune the plans.
“We call it a bookstore, coffee shop, and wine bar,” Grossmann said, “[Hooked] is those three things in one but we say we specialize in events and tastings so that people get a sense for what we offer and where we specialize.”
Hooked strives to be at the crossroads of several communities / community located on the border of Lansing and East Lansing, as it serves numerous communities besides the students and staff of MSU, it also incorporates foods that customers enjoy.
“We don’t have a full kitchen but we try to take advantage of things in Lansing that people love and are familiar with,” Grossman said.
Some of those things include salads from Tantay, bread and baked goods from Stone Circle Bakehouse, and Gluten free items from Sweet Encounter.
“We also try to be a place where we bring to Lansing some of our favorite things from elsewhere,” he said.
Some of the biggest menu items from out of town include the coffee products from the couple’s favorite coffee producer, Intelligentsia, based in Chicago, and baked goods and treats from Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor according to Grossmann. The shop also provides a space for people to come together and participate in book clubs, knitting clubs, or host private gatherings.
As Hooked joins communities interested in coffee, wine, books, and other mutual interests, it also seeks out what their customers and coworkers desire.
“We tend to be a place where we tell the staff that if they invent a drink and other people like it, then we’ll put it on the menu,” Grossmann said. “We try to be open to new stuff.”
Once customers proceed from the front of the store to the back, they are immediately immersed in a wide variety of current and historic best selling titles.
“We have an incredible book selection– our bookstore manager Caitlyn Lyles takes great care in our book ordering– don’t miss the poetry section, food and wine, and graphic novels,” Co-founder Sarah Reckhow said in an email to MNS.
Hooked carries roughly 10,000 titles in its shop, including almost every genre according to Grossmann.
“We tend to do a little bit more that are trendy with college students or with faculty and staff, and that means we were very much into the romance trend last year,” he said, adding that romance book sales were up 50% from the previous year.
Looking ahead to the second year of the store’s existence, Rechhow and Grossmann shared some of their hopes.
“Continuing to welcome new customers just discovering Hooked and seeing regulars come in every week,” Rechhow said in an email to MNS, “Developing new events and continuing to be a space for gathering, conversation, and learning in Lansing.”
Recently, the store has begun exhibiting art, and hopes to host more art displays soon.
“We’re gonna have hopefully going forward every couple of months to have a new art exhibit up,” Grossmann said, “We’re going to do a new mural above the cafe.”
The official Hooked Birthday Celebration, ‘One Year Birthday Party Boozy Book Fair,’ will kick off at 5 pm Friday April 21, at 3142 E Michigan Ave, in Lansing and will feature specials such as free birthday cake, drink specials, and discounts on Hooked books and memorabilia through the store.