Friday, July 3, 2015

Main Street Books - St. Charles, MO

Main Street Books - St. Charles, MO
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As I travel across the country visiting our nation's wonderful independent bookstores, one of my few regrets is that I can't spend more time in the communities where these stores are located.  St. Charles, MO, home of Main Street Books, is one of those areas where you could easily spend an entire day.  The bookstore is located in the historic district of town and you'll find lots of restaurants, unique shops, and historical attractions.  Sadly, I didn't have time to take in all that is offered here, but happily I focused my time at a great independent bookstore.

Quirky and cozy.  That's how co-owner Emily H. describes Main Street Books and I couldn't agree with her more.  Part of the attraction for me is the business is located in a building that was built in the 1820s.  I think historical locations always give bookstores additional character.  This two-level store has a good variety of new books and some used books.  One of Emily's strengths is in YA (young adult lit) and that along with children's books appears to be especially strong.  There are some sidelines which factors into the revenue here but a big part of the business are off-site events.  Main Street Books is able to partner with Lindenwood University and provide books for their speaker events.  They also have author events off-site at one of the local libraries and naturally provide books at these events.  The store is a little small to host author events but they do have authors in the store for book signings, another great way to bring customers in.

And customers keep coming.  The most advantageous component for success here is the location.  Emily told me she could not have picked a better location.  It is basically ground zero for the historical district and is kitty-corner from the original capital of Missouri.  Foot traffic and tourist traffic are a huge part of the business and Emily stated that if the bookstore were in a strip mall it would never make it.  This current location for Main Street Books is the 2nd building the business has occupied and Emily, who co-owns the store with her parents, is the 3rd business owner.  Without her family, this bookstore would not have continued.

It was wonderful to meet Emily and learn so much about the store.  She shared so much I can't possibly recount it all here.  But here's what I know and here's why this place will continue to thrive.  A great location, great customers, and a young, passionate, and knowledgeable bookstore owner who clearly has a talent for bookstores.  When you're in the St. Louis area next time, don't miss this terrific indie in a fascinating historical district.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Life After Life, Kate Atkinson.  This book gets some great reviews but it was work for me.  I understood the premise, was able to follow it, just didn't grab me.  The author may be creative above what I'm able to grasp.  Dog Songs, Mary Oliver.  As mentioned in a few previous posts, I'm not much for poetry.  But the ones I have read have been great, including this one.  Poems about dogs the author has had and included a couple of essays as well.  Loved this one and highly recommend it.

CURRENTLY READING:  Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel.

The historic store front of Main Street Books.  

Front window display.  

Lots of history in this building and in this district.  

Looking down the street at the historical buildings from the front of the bookstore.  

View looking through the store from the front entrance.  Emily is behind the counter making a sale!

A few of the greeting cards and other sidelines available here, just to the left of the front entrance.    The stairway leads to the 2nd level and more books.  

Front display of summer picks.  

A great place to sit down and browse a book.  

More sidelines available at the check-out counter.  Emily is obviously overcome that The Indie Bob Spot is finally at Main Street Books.  

Only at an indie!  

Thank goodness I was able to seek help here for my bookstoreaholic condition.  

A portion of the children's section.  

Little seats for the little readers in the children's section.  

There are local interest sections throughout the store.  

Here's what their book club is reading.  

The first hallway you see when you go upstairs.  

A great book room with great seats and a great view out onto the street.  There are multiple rooms of books on this second floor.  

You'll need a souvenir to go with the book you get.  Or send it to a friend and tell them they need to see this place!

All the businesses were starting a "find Waldo" promotion on the very day I visited.  A great way to get kids and families intro the store.  

With Emily, the fine owner at Main Street Books.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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