Hooked on East Michigan Avenue is a wine, coffee and book store that opened in April 2022 and is owned by Michigan State Professors Sarah Reckhow and Matt Grossmann.
The small business offers a variety of events, food and drink, all of which can be found on their website. Hooked has also become a place for community events, which co-founders Reckhow and Grossman always wanted to include.
“One of the things we’ve tried to build into concept and into reality that sets us apart is how much we act as a community space. Yes, you can come in and buy books; Yes, you can catch a flight or order something to eat… as soon as you walk in, you’ll see our table in the community center,” Reckhow said.
There is a board outside the main entrance listing the featured cocktails and coffees the company is offering for the month.
On the right as you enter is the coffee, wine and cocktail bar with stools and a unique worktop that matches the essence of the store.
“The wood for the communal table, as well as the bar and the shelves behind the bar, came from the MSU Shadows program, which uses reclaimed wood from trees that had to be cut down on campus, so it’s very local and very beautiful,” Reckhow said .
At the back of the store is a section dedicated to books, as this is a key part of the store. The bookstore has multiple sections and offers new and upcoming novels, fiction and non-fiction alike.
The library is categorized by genre, so each shelf has a heading that describes what’s housed in that section. There is also a children’s section with a variety of books and activities for children to participate in, such as coloring books and jigsaw puzzles.
There are a few chairs at the back of the library for guests to sit and read, or you can sit at one of the many tables or at the wall mounted bar. There is plenty of seating and natural light throughout the building, allowing for a well-lit environment for reading and working throughout the day.
Reckhow, an associate professor at the Department of Political Science, is known for working in her community, such as writing informative articles on topics such as city politics and politics, philanthropy, and educational policy. It’s no surprise that Hooked would include community events and be geared towards a community setting.
“We made the decision to start the concrete planning process for the opening of the bookstore and cafe in fall 2019…that was right after being away from the area for a year. We were on a sabbatical in Cambridge, Massachusetts,” Reckhow said.
The couple knew they wanted to incorporate ideas they had fallen in love with from the East Coast, like a bookstore and coffee shop, and the West Coast, a wine bar. Hooked is a great mix of east and west coast culture.
“We were able to experience a city with many bookstores and when we came back here we missed that. Some aspects of the idea go back at least a decade when we were talking about a wine bar in a coffee shop and it wouldn’t be cool because there were places like that that we used to go to when we lived in California,” Rechkhow said.
Reckhow can attest that running a small business is no easy task, but she believes it’s important to pursue your dreams, especially after COVID-19 has given her and her husband the time and opportunity to build their small business.
“In some ways it’s been fun and a really creative process … and during the pandemic, especially during times when it’s been isolating and just difficult, there was something optimistic about us when we were between Matt and I, but also with.” told our kids about Hooked. The name Hooked was actually our daughter’s idea,” Rechhow said.
Jay Scofield, Hooked’s cafe manager, has worked at the facility since it opened its doors earlier this year.
“(The business) is fun and challenging. This is my third company that I’ve helped open and it’s been a really creative process to pull together these ideas that we had and actually turn them into something real,” said Scofield.
The environment of Hooked is fun, playful, educational and everyone can relax and unwind. From food and drink to all the book genres on offer, there is something to enjoy.
William Havlovick is a Hooked customer and enjoys spending his weekends there with friends or alone.
“I really like this place because it’s not too loud or crowded and there’s always something new to try, like a drink or a book. I like that there are so many variations, I feel like they know what they’re doing and it’s well done,” Havlovick said.
The variety of options on offer at the Hooked has made it a key destination for community events such as a book club, trying new wine flights and charcuterie, or going solo and spending the day sipping coffee and reading a new book.
The possibilities at Hooked are endless with new events happening weekly which can be found on their website.
“We regularly hold author events, we allow groups to use the community area for free to gather. Yes, there are other places in town where you can have a meeting room, but we’ve tried to make it a core part of what we do,” Reckhow said.