Signs of Life soon to close its doors in downtown Lawrence

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Post updated at 5:22 p.m. Wednesday, May 24:

Signs of Life, a bookstore, espresso bar and art gallery that has been a longtime fixture in downtown Lawrence, is closing this month, the store has announced.

Located at 722 Massachusetts St., Signs of Life has sold books, post and greeting cards and coffee products for the past two decades, and its last sale will take place this week. 

“It’s basically a retirement,” said Clay Belcher, owner of Signs of Life. “All good things come to an end and this just seemed like a good time to do it.” 

Belcher is under contract to sell the building. The future of the large space the store occupies is unclear.

Belcher announced the closure on Facebook: “End of an era,” he wrote. Signs of Life specialized in Christian and spiritual books, but also sold classical and literary fiction, history and art books. 

Lawrence Lowdown

“It’s been a great 20 years, but now it’s time to go,” Belcher wrote. “Signs of Life will soon close our doors forever, but before we go, we’re offering some final deals to our best customers.”

Products are 25% to 33% off throughout the week. 

Belcher opened the store in 2003 intending to provide “a place where people could find good books, not just any old book, but books worth owning, thoughtful books, books that tackle big ideas,” according to the business’s website

In addition to selling books, Signs of Life served as an art gallery and a venue offering free live music. At the front of the store is an antique grand piano that musical guests and talented patrons could play. 

“We’ve had a great run and have enjoyed being on Mass and being a part of the downtown community,” Belcher said. 

Matt Baysinger, owner of Breakout Lawrence, confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that he will be buying the Signs of Life building. Baysinger also owned Blade and Timber, the axe-throwing business that burned down in 2019.

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Lawrence Lowdown is a feature on developments around town. Have a tip? Let us know.

Chansi Long (she/her) reported for The Lawrence Times from July 2022 through August 2023. Read more of her work for the Times here.

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