Rioters in Minneapolis did serious damage to DreamHaven Books and Comics, a business that has been around in various forms and under several names since the 1970s. This store is a treasure, and some of its many friends showed up on Saturday morning to help founder Greg Ketter and his team clean up the mess.
There has been some discussion online about whether it’s tone deaf to mourn the damage to businesses and livelihoods during riots that were inspired by horrifying inequities. I think it’s possible to mourn multiple things at the same time, without implying that those things are equivalent.
DreamHaven’s Facebook page posted the photo above (used here with permission), showing that volunteers had boarded up the shattered windows, and painted a message familiar to any comic book fan.
“Thank you everyone who came by to help and wish us well,” writes Wendy Comeau of DreamHaven. “It was a mess, with most of the glass cabinets at least partially broken. There were a few merchandise casualties and they took/destroyed the electronics they found, but mostly they ignored the books. All except the one they tried to burn, which they left to smolder and which put itself out.
“Teams of folks came by during the day (they appeared out of nowhere! It was *brilliant*!) and boarded up the store and painted ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ on the boards. Also brilliant.
“So for the moment, we’re done. There are a lot of things that need to be put back into place, and it will be a little while before we can open again. But we’re here and safe and once we get through this patch we will again be able to open for business.”
Publishers Weekly wrote about the damage to Twin Cities book stores, including DreamHaven and the complete loss of Uncle Edgar’s Mystery Bookstore and Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore. Moon Palace Books, another great store, had not yet sustained major damage, even though it’s right in the thick of where riots were taking place.
Even though I haven’t lived near DreamHaven for 20 years, I ordered from them twice during this pandemic, because it’s the kind of place that has what you’re looking for.
Ketter wrote this yesterday on his personal Facebook page:
“We’re safe at DreamHaven. The store was trashed but so many volunteers have showed up that cleanup is going really well. I want to thank everyone for their love and concern. Uncle Hugo’s has burned; they tried to burn DreamHaven, but ironically, the book they tried to start the fire was my own book, Shelf Life, which started to burn but then extinguished and saved the store.
“I’ve been very emotional today, bursting into tears every so often. I just don’t know what else to say…”