|Pearl Street Books, LaCrosse, WI|
I'm a little concerned that I have now visited so many bookstores (290+) that I may visit one that I'll become apathetic about or develop a "ho-hum" attitude. Yet thankfully, time after time, it doesn't happen. Once again, I've visited a wonderful bookstore with a great space, an established history, an engaging bookseller, and is relavitlely close to where I live. The independent bookstore gods continue to smile down upon me and I return the smile. There was nothing "blah" about my visit to this terrific indie in LaCrosse.
Pearl Street Books is located in a building constructed in the 1880s. It's in a space that was formerly a shoe store and the most striking thing to me when I entered was the floor to ceiling shelving on both walls. The ceiling was so high that the shelves had moveable ladders on rails along both walls. In other words, a book lover's dream. The store is in the heart of downtown, an excellent location that offers great foot traffic. They've been in this location for 17 years of the last 20+ years they've been in business. There is a solid core of regular customers and lots of tourists, especially during the summer months and especially those who visit here on Mississippi River cruises.
Pearl Street offers new and used books with the new ones featured near the front of the store. Customers are able to receive store credit or cash for the books they bring in. They also acquire books via book sales throughout the area. The store has recently established a presence on social media and also offer book sales online, both things that I think are good moves if a bookstore is able to do it. They offer greeting cards that sell well but other than that, there are few sidelines. You can also enjoy visiting the store for occasional author events, something that can always attract more customers. And if you need a coffee, there is an indoor cut-though to the next door coffee shop, a win-win for both businesses.
I didn't get to meet the owner Jim A. on this visit but the store was in great hands with Allison, one of the booksellers. She was the perfect bookseller; knowledgeable, conversant, and friendly. Exactly the kind of person you usually meet working in bookstores.
Even though this store has been around for awhile, there are some folks in the LaCrosse area who haven't discovered it yet. Now is the time. Wisconsin winters can be brutal and man cannot live on cheese alone. Visit Pearl Street Books and pick up a few books to get you through the winter. Once you see this place, you'll be back for more. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: Lion, Saroo Brierley. Previously published as, A Long Way Home: A Memoir. Author's account of growing up in India and at the age of 5 becomes lost from his family. The result is an incredible story that takes him across the country of India and then halfway around the world to Australia. All the time he's wondering if he can ever find his birth family. Unbelievable story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Recommended.
CURRENTLY READING: Going Into Town, Roz Chast.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: Freddy And The Ignormus, Walter Brooks. Freddy The Pilot, Walter Brooks. Freddy The Detective, Walter Brooks. Give A Boy A Gun, Todd Strasser.
|Ample window display space. Notice the sign below the window of the previous business. Years ago, this window would've been filled with shoes.|
|Another one of the store's window displays.|
|Walking into the store you'll see evidence of the store's history under your feet.|
|There are two front door entrances and this is the view looking into the store from the right front door. Halfway back on the right is the doorway cut-through that will take you into the coffeeshop.|
|View looking to the left of the front entrance. Notice that the books are literally shelved floor to ceiling. This is true of both sides of the store.|
|You'll find a bargain in this basket.|
|Just a few of the greeting cards available.|
|Displays of new books will be found near the front of the store.|
|Floor to ceiling, nothing but books for as far as the eye can see.|
|A few of the sidelines available.|
|A partial view of the children's section.|
|Another view of the children's section.|
|Looking across the back wall of the store. Apologies for the blur.|
|This beautiful staircase will lead upstairs to a balcony area located in the back of the store.|
|The balcony area is a perfect space to relax and sample a few books. I love this area of the store.|
|How could anybody not like this view? Great shot from the balcony looking toward the front of the store.|
|Something for your German speaking friends.|
|A great selection of new children's books.|
|With Allison on the right, one of the fine booksellers at Pearl Street Books. Thanks for a great visit.|