KALAMAZOO, Mich. — An original newsstand locally owned and operated has remained a staple in West Michigan for over 70 years.
It's the dedication and resilience of the owner who has kept them going even in the midst of the pandemic.
The Michigan News Agency opened its doors in 1947.
"What the Michigan News represents to me is the world and the future, and that is why I love this place and this community so much," said Dean Hauck, the owner of the Michigan News Agency.
Dean Hauck arrived in Kalamazoo at age eight.
She was born in the Philippines, and at two and a half years old, in the midst of World War II, was sent to Santa Tomas Internment Camp.
It was at the Japanese internment camp where she discovered her love for books because it took her away from reality.
"Every day imagining myself the Eiffel Tower, the Berlin Wall, all sorts of wonderful places, so I wasn’t in Santa Tomas. We were there three years and two months," said Hauck.
She, her mother and sister survived the camp and finally got to the United States at the age of six.
"I arrived in Kalamazoo at age eight never every feeling safer. That is why Kalamazoo means so much to me because for the first time, I felt safe," said Hauck.
Dean Hauck was born in the Philippines in 1939 and spent over three years in a Japanese internment camp as a child.— Lauren Kummer (@LaurenKummerTV) April 28, 2021
She, her mom & sister were rescued, eventually ending up in #Kalamazoo. Her stepfather owned the Michigan News Agency and later passed it to her in 1988. @FOX17 pic.twitter.com/7FRXlMbTW6
Her mother went on to marry the original owner of the Michigan News Agency, Vincent Malstrom, who later adopted Dean and her sister.
Hauck started working at the store at age 10 sweeping floors and stacking newspapers, eventually moving to the register.
"I was paid 50 cents an hour with reading privileges. I couldn’t read on the job, but I could take books home, and if I didn’t crack them or hurt them, I could read," said Hauck.
She took ownership of the store in 1988, adding more books to keep them going.
"Newspapers, you make 6% on. Magazines, you make 30% on. I came to understand that that was probably not enough. Newsstands were disappearing and collapsing. When I got back here in 1988, I started to increase the book collection," said Hauck.
The Michigan News Agency stocks around half a million titles, but it's still not easy.
With the pandemic, Hauck said the store struggled. While she changed ways to make people feel more comfortable, she had to ask for help.
"All I need to do is get out the message that I need you. This community has responded. That is how Kalamazoo is. That is how we are made. We are blessed," said Hauck.
The Michigan News Agency is located at 308 W Michigan Ave. in Kalamazoo. It is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.