Monday, November 11, 2019

Wordsmith Bookshoppe - Galesburg, IL

Wordsmith Bookshoppe, Galesburg, IL
(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

Regular readers know that my journey began as a project to visit every bookstore featured in, My Bookstore, by Ron Rice.  That book was the inspiration that began my madness and now I've met someone else equally inspired by the same book.  Teri P. opened Wordsmith Bookshoppe 2+ months ago along with her husband John.  She had extensive experience for many years at a small independent chain store, Book World.  Sadly, Book World stores are no longer in business.  But when one door closes another one opens and John said let's open our own bookstore.  But as Teri told me ("John, are you kidding me?!"), owning a bookstore is a lot different from working in one.  She needed information and resources fast.  Enter My Bookstore, by Ron Rice.  Her education included reading about all those successful indies and learning about numerous marketing ideas for her newly opened store in Galesburg.  The results?  A knock it out of the park home run in a town that previously had nothing like it and was also welcoming and enthusiastic about a new business like Wordsmith (way to go Galesburg).  Well done, indeed.  

Clearly, Teri is knowledgeable about the business and that is huge for opening a bookstore.  She got a great bargain from Book World and acquired all of their shelving at a low price.  These shelves are a wonderful enhancement to the store's beautiful and spacious (2100 sq. ft.) interior.  Wordsmith offers all new books along with some literary themed sidelines.  The candles and Bob Ross swag are selling very well.  I can't imagine any place in Galesburg offering as extensive a variety of magazines as they do here.  The store plans to top out their magazines at 1500 different titles.  They'll also be selling an assortment of comic books soon.  Teri has plans to eventually flesh out an active events schedule.  They already host a scrabble night and book club night to name a few.  Watch for story time to begin soon. 

Best of all, Teri has surrounded herself with a staff of rock stars (yes, Leah, rock stars!).  Husband John, her parents Ron and Leah, and bookseller John all contribute their individual talents to make this a shining star in downtown Galesburg.  If you're in the Galesburg area and haven't been here yet, your first visit will take your breath away.  Congratulations to Teri and staff and congratulations Galesburg.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Don't Make Me Pull Over!, Richard Ratay.  Part memoir, part historical look at all things travel related including the highway systems, automobiles, rest areas, Stuckey's, air travel, and more.  If you went on a family vacation as a kid and your dad's main goal was "making good time", you might like this one.  

CURRENTLY READING:  Salt To The Sea, Ruta Sepetys.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Faithful, Alice Hoffman.  


This display window gives the store lots of space to work with.  

Just keep this in mind for the next 5 months or so.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Just inside the front door and along the wall to the right is an endless offering of magazines.  Impressive.  

Also just inside the front door are some great places to page through a book.  

Looking to the left from the front entrance.  Notice the historic brick wall above the shelves.  

Hey bookstore owners, this sideline is hot here at Wordsmith Bookshoppe.  

These literary-themed soy wax candles are selling well here as well as many other bookstores I've visited.  

You find the most unique sidelines in independent bookstores.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

Another view of the historic brick wall.  Owner Teri is getting ready to sell a book naturally!

I like this display of large print books because it is displayed in way that makes it easily accessible for seniors.  

An assortment of audio books.  

If you want to find out about some of the country's best bookstores, get this book (or follow this blog!).  This was a HUGE help for Teri when getting started at this store and was the inspiration for my journey.  

The large front display window from the inside, a great set-up.  

A long wall of books.  

In addition to the graphic novels already here, the store will also be adding comics.  

YIPPEE!  It's new book day!

Relevant table display for the holiday season.  

A great display in appreciation of our veterans and Veteran's Day.  

Lots of literary-themed sidelines to choose from.  

Kids will enjoy this display.  

Partial view of the children's section.  

Find a 2020 calendar for your sports fan.  
A nice selection of books by local and regional authors.  

Overview of the store looking from the back toward the front entrance.  

This is the great group of people you'll meet when you visit Wordsmith Bookshoppe.  From L-R: John, John P., Leah, Ron, and Teri P.  Thanks for a great visit.



Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Brewed Book - Davenport, IA

The Brewed Book, Davenport, IA
(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

I knew this place was out there but only barely.  It's time that this gem gets some attention and I'm rattling the cage of all who read this that you need to discover this relative unknown beauty.  It won't be long until you see this indie on some of those regional "best" lists that occasionally come out recognizing fine bookstores.  This indie isn't even two years old yet and as nice as it is now, the best is yet to come.  Co-owner Tony F. along with his son Trevor have big plans, ideas for growth, activities, community, and more.

The interior of this bookstore oozes warmth.  Not the temperature, but the feel.  Wooden floors, dark brown shelves with books stacked floor to ceiling, and soft lighting.  There are many places to sit and sip a coffee from the cafe and enjoy sampling a book.  The Brewed Book offers all used books and a few new ones published by local authors.  There are no sidelines yet but the cafe is an obvious important part of the business.  The store has an excellent location sandwiched between St. Ambrose University, Palmer Chiropractic College, and nearby Central High School.  Customers come from all of these communities as well as the local neighborhood.  Future plans include more than doubling the retail space by expanding behind the current store, renovation of two upstairs apartments, online sales, more events, entering the entire inventory into a database, establishing a customer policy for acquiring used books, and so much more.  Davenport is a part of a larger region in eastern Iowa and western Illinois on the Mississippi River known as the Quad Cities.  There is no independent like this in the area making The Brewed Book a destination for book and coffee lovers alike.  As Tony told me, they were going for a combination of a great bookstore and great coffee cafe.  They've easily exceeded their goal.

Besides the bookstore and cafe component, they're developing their events schedule by hosting board game nights.  As with their other visions, this will continue to develop and expand.

Tony was fantastic to meet and visit on this day.  Like so many I've met on my journey, he opened this store with no background in retail or business.  And like Tony, these many I've met are moved by a passion for books, coffee, and community.  This is a can't miss rising star that you won't be able to ignore for long.  Just take the Brady St. exit off I-80 and you'll go straight to it.  Congrats to Tony and Trevor.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The River, Peter Heller.  This is the perfect book for a person who enjoys the outdoors, hunting, fishing, camping, and canoeing.  Two college friends take an innocent river trip by canoe but soon find themselves trying to out race a forest fire while ferrying a severely injured woman back for help.  There are villains lurking as well.  Slow start, the ending is good.  The writing was a little too descriptive for me and slowed the pace of the book.

CURRENTLY READING:  Don't Make Me Pull Over!, Richard Ratay.


A beautiful storefront.  

I think the store's logo is outstanding.  

Lots of front window space that brings in lots of natural light.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Just inside the front door you'll find a piano waiting for attention.  Maybe you can plan your recital for here?

A great place to sit at the front window with your coffee and your book.  

The store has numerous places to sit.  

The bookshelves are floor to ceiling books.  I also thought the lighting was perfect.  

This is where you'll get your coffee and pay for your books.  The counter is also used for shelving more books.  Beautiful.  

Another view of the shelved books under the counter.  

Partial view of the cafe counter.  

One of the book nooks.  Future plans include back-lighting behind the stained glass you see in the picture.  

Ladders and footstools will help you get to those high books.  

A wonderful reading room toward the back of the store.  

This sign explains the next picture.  

This is the space behind the current retail area of the bookstore that will significantly increase the size of the store.  Consider this the "before" picture.  You need to go for the "after" picture.  

The store has incorporated some attractive plants with the ladders.  

Overview of the store looking from the back toward the front entrance.  

Two super places to sit in the back of the store.  

A few of the new books in the store, written by local authors.  

WWII scholars might enjoy these volumes.  

Look carefully at these book covers.  The covers are the inspiration for presenting the cafe's menu.  Very creative and not sure I've seen this anywhere.    

Of course you'll need this for all the books you'll buy.  

The interior is so attractive that a few customers have asked how to borrow a book.  You don't have to borrow, you can buy and own a book!  And the prices are great, mostly $5 for hardbacks and $3 for paperbacks.    

Name the book that inspired the menu item on its cover.  

Same.  Name the book.
With Tony on the right, the fine co-owner at The Brewed Book.  Thanks for a great visit.