Sold: Storied Once Upon a Crime bookstore finds a new owner

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An award-winning bookshop in south Minneapolis has found a buyer.

Gary Shulze and Pat Frovarp, the current owners of Once Upon a Crime, announced this week they are "excited and saddened" that they've found someone to buy the store.

They put it on the market last summer – a move that customers thought would mean the mystery bookshop would have the same fate of many other independent bookstores as of late and close.

But the couple assured patrons the new owners are "perfectly suited to take over" and customers are "going to love them."

Dennis Abraham, his wife Megan King-Abraham, and their daughter Devin, will take over the shop on April 1 – exactly 29 years after the store was founded.

The Abrahams, who moved to Minneapolis in 2014, are "avid mystery readers" and became interested in becoming small business owners when they found out the shop was for sale. Devin Abraham, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin, will be the primary staff at the shop, the announcement says.

The Star Tribune reports Shulze and Frovarp considered 12 different buyers before settling on the Abrahams, with Shulze telling the paper: "They seemed the most excited about the idea ... Plus their daughter is young, she can carry the store for many years."

The Abrahams will be the fourth owners of the shop, reports note. And they don't intend to change much, except for create an online presence for the store, the Star Tribune says.

That's something Schulze and Frovarp avoided, with their website saying they are "informal" and "low-tech."

The couple does plan to stay "on for a while" in an advisory capacity to help the new owners learn the ropes, their announcement says.

Schulze and Frovarp, who met at the shop and then got married there, bought the shop in 2002, the Pioneer Press reports. They helped build it into an award-winning bookstore that has hosted numerous crime and mystery writers over the years, the paper adds.

The bookstore was honored with the Raven Award in 2011 – the top honor for non-authors at the annual Edgar Awards, which is sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America.

The couple decided to sell the shop last July, mainly due to their age and health concerns, they told the Star Tribune last summer. In their announcement this week, the couple said "it's time," noting "running an independent book store is hard, ceaseless work."

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