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CHICAGO — After a used bookstore owner died, her friends are now trying to keep the business afloat.

Chelsea Carr Rectanus, who was the owner of Heirloom Books on the North Side, bought two pallets of books, and in 2017 opened a used bookstore in Edgewater. She didn’t know a lot about selling books, but she had a passion for the pages. Those two pallets grew into thousands of books.

Rectanus died in August and now, half a dozen of her friends are volunteering to make sure Heirloom Books stays open.

There are topics in the store’s books you might never think of like the history of Swiss colonists. There’s a lot of history, politics, autobiographies, contemporary books to children’s books — where 10-year-old Olivia Lanter manages and stocks the shelves. She’s Joe Lanter’s daughter.

There are obscure books like “We Hold These Truths” that is worth about $985.

Nothing else is even close to that expensive. Many of the store’s books start at a dollar.

Maria Clark was a dear friend of Rectanus. Rectanus was the reason Clark moved to Chicago from Texas. Now she sets up partnerships with other artists to prop each other up and stay open.

Rectanus’ friends also set up a GoFundMe to help ride out these hard times. Heirloom Books is open 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day. So while you can, grab a book and a comfy chair, escape for a little while and don’t forget to look up.

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