|The Valley Bookseller - Stillwater, MN|
I don't know how this place could be any better. Ron Rice, who was the editor of My Bookstore, told me there were many indies worthy of inclusion in his book about independent bookstores. This one wasn't included but it is certainly deserving. Great location, adequately sized, heavily engaged in the community, a coffee shop, easy and free parking, nice people, and of course BOOKS! If it has a drawback, it would be for the cat lovers since I didn't see a cat. Other than that, this place has it all and has it together.
This is a one-level bookstore with a coffee shop in the rear. It is on the main street of Stillwater and on the other side of the store is the scenic St. Croix River. The store is very attractive inside and out, with a good inventory of new books and some used books. Customers can get store credits for the books they bring in, very similar to what other indies offer. There are also a small variety of sidelines here including greeting cards, book bags, and jigsaw puzzles, just to name a few. The store was recently remodeled a month ago and now includes The Daily Grind, a coffee shop and separate business. I think partnerships like this are huge for both parties since customers of each business will crossover into the other.
On the day of my visit I had a great chat with Kathleen E., the manager, and Lynne M., one of the booksellers. Both of these ladies were absolutely delightful and shared a lot of information with me about the store. Since Valley Booksellers has been here 25 years, its ties in the community and surrounding areas run deep. Book fairs, author events (on and off site), special promotions, special reading times, book clubs hosted in the store, and more. Heck, if they can get the right author, they go to a bar for a Beer & Books event. Beer and books, people! Good grief, who wouldn't want to do this?! (Ok, admittedly, I might beg off on a Cherry Coke. But still...!).
Kathleen has been manager here for 7 years. She shared with me her optimism for the store and how well the business is trending thanks to a strong local customer base and good tourist traffic. Business has steadily grown here over the last 7 years. That's no coincidence thanks to people like Kathleen, Lynne, and the ownership of Molly R.
Stillwater, Minnesota is a beautiful town with many unique shops and restaurants, very picturesque. If I lived here, I would definitely be a regular at Valley Booksellers. It's very easy to get to so on your next visit to the Twin Cities and Mall of America, put this bookstore on your list. If you're a regular customer, take a friend on your next visit and introduce them to a terrific bookstore. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: Jungleland, Christopher S. Stewart. True story of the author's search for an ancient hidden city in the Honduras jungle. He also chronicles an explorer who attempted the same search in the 1940s. Very interesting. Recommended.
CURRENTLY READING: This Is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: Read This!, Hans Weyandt, editor. Not purchased, gifted (thank you)! A reference for more independent bookstores and their favorite books. Just what I need. The Life We Bury, Allen Eskens. Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier In Hitler's Army, Georg Rauch.
|Another view from the parking lot. The parking here is great.|
|Front entrance. The parking lot sits on the right.|
|A great place outside to sit and read a book. In the summer. This is Minnesota!|
|View just inside the front door looking to the rear of the store and the coffee shop, The Daily Grind.|
|Indie Bound best-sellers. Clever readers will recognize this rare celebrity sighting. Yes, that's my mom.|
|Assortment of greeting cards and very hip reading glasses.|
|A great place to sit and browse a book.|
|Some great book bags.|
|A portion of the children's section.|
|View of one of the aisles looking toward the rear of the store.|
|You don't need to be in New York City to get a NY Times. You'll find it here with other favorites.|
|If you don't like the Beer & Books events try this one instead!|
|View from the back of the store looking toward the front.|
|Order your latte here, have a seat, and spend some time with a book.|
|The Daily Grind coffee shop located in the back of the bookstore.|
|Lynne in the center and Kathleen, the manager, on the right. Thanks for a great visit!|