In 1982, Coventry Road changed forever when Suzanne DeGaetano moved her bookshop from Kent State to this iconic Cleveland Heights street. The original location on Coventry was housed above the Dobama Theater, then down the street toward Mayfield Road before settling in the shared storefront with Tommy’s that customers know and love.
Since then, local authors' book signings and long-running poetry readings have brought in customers while fostering Cleveland’s writing community.
“I have seen our local author community grow and expand, and it’s been wonderful to see that,” says DeGaetano.
Foundational to the history of Mac’s Backs are the weekly poetry readings, which have taken place since 1984. This contributed even more to what DeGaetano calls a “robust poetry community.”
With local authors on the rise and aspiring poets flooding in along with a host of customers ready to explore three floors of sci-fi, fantasy, romance and non-fiction, nothing could touch this local book lover’s hot spot.
Enter, March 2020.
While many businesses folded under the pandemic pressure or struggled to get back up, Mac’s Backs saw an outpouring of support from its online sales.
“I will never forget those people,” says DeGaetano. In the wake of the pandemic, online orders continue to flow in, but the doors are open again, bringing in poets and readers of all ages. It does, 40 years later, still feel like the store is in its heyday and will remain a staple for years to come.
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