The small business offers a variety of events, foods and drinks that are all on their website. Hooked has also become a space for community events which is what co-founders Reckhow and Grossman have always intended to incorporate.
“One of the things we tried to build into the concept and make into a reality that makes us stand out is how much we’re operating as a community space. Yes, you can come in and shop for books; yes you can and have a flight or order some food… right when you walk in you’ll see our community center table,” Reckhow said.
Outside the main entrance is a board which lists featured cocktails and coffees the business is featuring for the month.
On the right side upon entry is the coffee, wine and cocktail bar that has stools and a unique countertop that fits the essence of the business.
“The wood for the community table as well as the bar and the shelves behind the bar is from the MSU Shadows program which uses reclaimed wood from trees that had to be taken down on campus so it’s very local and very beautiful, ” Reckhow said.
In the back of the store is a section dedicated to books, since that is a key element of the business. The bookstore feature has multiple sections, and features new and upcoming novels, fiction and nonfiction alike.
The library is categorized by genre, so each shelf has a heading that describes what is housed in that section. There is also a children’s section that has a variety of books and activities for children to partake in like coloring books and puzzles.
There are a few chairs in the back of the library that allow patrons the opportunity to sit and read, or one could sit at one of the many tables or at the bar against the wall. There is plenty of seating and natural light in the building that allows for a well lit environment to read and work in throughout the day.
Reckhow, an associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, is known for doing work in her community, such as writing informative articles on topics like Urban Politics and Policy, Philanthropy and Education Politics. It is no surprise that Hooked would include community events and be geared towards a community setting.
“We made the decision to start the planning process in a concrete way to open the bookstore and cafe in the fall of 2019… this was right after we had been away from the area for one year. We were in Cambridge Massachusetts on a sabbatical,” Reckhow said.
The couple knew that they wanted to incorporate ideas that they had fallen in love with from the East coast, like a bookstore and cafe, as well as from the West coast, a wine bar. Hooked is a great mixture of both east and west coast culture.
“We got to experience a city with lots of bookstores and we came back here and were missing that. Some aspects of the idea go back at least a decade where we would talk about a coffee shop wine bar and wouldn’t it be cool because there were places like that we would go to when we lived in California,” Rechkhow said.
Running a small business is no easy accomplishment that Reckhow can attest to, yet she believes that pursuing one’s dreams are important, especially after COVID-19 gave her and her husband the time and opportunity to develop their small business.
“In some respects it has been fun and a really creative process… and during the pandemic especially during the times when it was isolating and just hard, there was something optimistic for us talking about Hooked between Matt and I but also with our kids. The name Hooked was actually our daughter’s idea,” Rechhow said.
Jay Scofield, the cafe manager at Hooked, has been working at the establishment since it opened its doors earlier this year.
“(The business) is fun and challenging. This is my third business I’ve helped open and it’s been a really creative process to try to pull together these ideas we’ve had and actually turn them into something real,” Scofield said.
The environment of Hooked is fun, playful, educational and anybody can go to unwind and relax. There is something to enjoy from the food and drink to all the genres of books that are offered.
William Havlovick is a customer at Hooked and likes to spend his time on the weekend there hanging out with friends or solo.
“I really like this place because it isn’t too loud or crowded, and there is always something new to try like a drink or book. I like that there is so much variation, I feel like they know what they’re doing and it is well done,” Havlovick said.
The variety of options offered at Hooked has made it a key destination for community events like a book club, trying new wine flights and charcuterie boards or to go solo and spend the day drinking coffee and reading a new book.
The opportunities are endless at Hooked with new events happening weekly that can be found on their website.
“We have author events on a regular basis, we allow groups to use the community space to gather, free of charge. Yes, there are other places in town where you can have a meeting space but we tried to make it a centerpiece of what we’re doing,” Reckhow said.