Louis Kregel and the used books business
Louis (Lubbertus) Kregel arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan from the Netherlands in August 1909 at the age of nineteen. Many of the members of his church were recent immigrants who were working at various low paying entry jobs and not able to afford the luxury of new books. Kregel recognized a need for used books that these people could afford. He canvassed pastors, professors, and churches for used books to resell. Strategically located in the Alpine Avenue area, his business grew to be one of the country’s largest dealerships in used books.
Kregel passed away at the rather young age of forty-nine years in 1939. His son, Robert, only twenty, took over and in 1949 changed its name to Kregel Publications, initially publishing only classic reprints. The used books section remained highly popular, and was a boon to budget-minded theology students and pastors.
Currently Kregel, Inc. is composed of three divisions, Kregel Publications, Editorial Portavoz, and the Kregel Parable Bookstore. With Zondervan and Eerdmans closing their retail stores, the Christian community in the greater Grand Rapids area is still served by the Baker Book Store on East Paris Avenue and Kregel Parable Christian Bookstore, located in Grandville on Chicago Dr. near Wilson Avenue SW.
(Submitted by Janet Sheeres, interim editor of Origins. Photo shows Louis Kregel and his wife Lena).