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F-M News to close; owner says strip mall to be demolished

F-M News is seen Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, at 2301 S. University Drive, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor1 / 2
Former F-M News owner and manager Dan Hillstrom, left, and current owner Del Fischer talk Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, about the store's closing and rumored plans for its building. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor2 / 2

FARGO—F-M News, a store that has sold new and used books and magazines here since 1967, will close its doors at the end of the month.

Owner Del Fischer said the strip mall adjacent to Kmart on South University that has served as home for the business since 1968 will soon be demolished. Fischer said he received a letter from the mall's owner in late October giving him 60 days to vacate the premises.

A Grubbs & Ellis sign advertising space for lease continues to stand nearby. Calls made to to the listed agent, Marc C. Johnson, were not returned.

Employees of the other tenants—Discount Smoke Shop, Check 'n Go and Memorials & Custom Stone Creations—confirmed they had heard the same about the mall's fate, but company officials did not return requests for comment.

Turning the page

Marion and Don Formanek opened F-M News in 1967 as a retail outlet for Independent News, a magazine and book wholesaler. At one time, the business had six locations in the metro.

Longtime employee Dan Hillstrom bought F-M News in 1988 and was largely responsible for shaping the business into what it is today. The store now sells new and used books, magazines, movies, comics, trading cards, gems, rocks and more.

Hillstrom sold F-M News to Fischer in 2007, but stayed on to manage the store. Fischer had just retired from Kmart, where he worked for 40 years, most recently as manager of the store next door.

Fischer said regular customers have pleaded with him to reopen F-M News elsewhere.

"There's no place else with a selection like this," he said.

While he hasn't ruled it out, he said it's complicated because some of the magazines he carries contain adult content. He said he must gain the approval of all neighboring tenants before moving into a new strip mall.

Fischer has also considered just dropping the adult magazines.

"We would think about opening without the adult magazines," he said. "There is a demand for used books, vintage magazines, sports cards, coins, and definitely rocks."

In fact, the rock business has increased in recent years.

"I have a lot of people who come in for rocks either for the metaphysical side of it or because they do rock prospecting or tumbling themselves," Hillstrom said.

Rocks and gems are currently 25 percent off. Books and magazines are also on sale for 50 percent off.

Fischer said he hopes to liquidate and close the store by Dec. 22.