Danielle Mullen, a Chicago entrepreneur, has developed a new bookstore concept based on a membership model and options to check out or purchase books. Focusing on customer experience as well as technological ease, Athenaeum offers a comfortable space where avid readers and ardent creatives can enjoy time in a comfortable space. The new bookstore offers technology and a restaurant/bar in a playful Fulton Market location, disrupting the traditional model of a book seller.
Athenaeum introduces a library-themed concept to a bar, restaurant and all-around hang-out. With a monthly membership model, visitors may “check out” a specified number of books via their app. They can either return them to check out more or purchase them outright. Users are also able to pre-order drinks and appetizers as well as reserve space. Although you don’t have to be a member to shop, VIP members get chip-embedded cards providing access to the membership-only floor, which is appropriately decked out with a top-shelf whiskey bar and cigar lounge.
The new bookstore in Chicago will be introducing itself to the city via it’s first pop-up shop taking place August 10 to 12, 2018, at Block 37. The “Art Is Life” themed pop-up will include art-based books, curated cocktails and a live street-art demonstration. The company’s Indiegogo campaign is set to launch on June 15, 2018, giving potential Athenaeum customers a chance to purchase their monthly memberships at a discounted rate.