|Fair Trade Books - Red Wing, MN|
There are LOTS of reasons you're going to want to pay a visit to Fair Trade Books in Red Wing, especially if you're a first time visitor. This place and their co-owners, Rick and Fay D., offer the BEST incentive to first-time visitors of any indie I've visited or can recall. You see, at Fair Trade Books you receive a free gift on your first visit. No, it isn't a bookmark or a pencil, it's a freakin' book! And no, it isn't just some piece of crap they're trying to get rid of. If every indie I visited offered this to me as a first-time visitor, well, I would have a lot more books (which frankly, is unimaginable). As they do at all good bookstores, Rick and Fay talk to you about your interests and what you like to read. They take time to then think about what book would be best for you, as a gift for your first time in the store. What an absolutely fantastic incentive to visit! The only catch? After receiving your free book you are required to exclaim in a voice loud enough for all to hear, "books make a great gift!" Good luck getting that incentive on your visit to Amazon.
Rick and Fay have been in business for 2+ years and things are going great. I think this is another wonderful indicator for the re-emergence of independent bookstores. The store offers new, used, and vintage books in a one-level space. They are located in a beautiful historic building (1924) in downtown Red Wing that is easily accessible thanks to free on-street parking. New and used books are shelved together throughout the store. Customers who bring in books for trade are offered Fair Trade credit tokens in return. They can use these for more than just books including event tickets, dining, gift-certificates, and more. This is one of the more creative credit programs I've seen.
The store is very active with all kinds of events. Besides author events, you can enjoy live music, open mic nights of comedy and poetry, and much more. Before opening this store, Rick had no background in retail but it's obvious he's a fast learner who has done his due diligence. Things are only going to get better and better here.
I had a great talk with Rick during my visit and he told me that the magnets and greeting cards are the best selling sidelines but these will continue to evolve over time. Make no mistake though, the books are the bread and butter here. The store enjoys visitors from the Twin Cities, one hour away, and also from folks who are visiting the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
|As soon as I walked in to Fair Trade I was warmly greeted by Reveler, and this will be one more reason you won't want to leave the store!|
JUST FINISHED: The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury. It seems that everyone I've talked to read this back in junior high or high school except me. I'm not a big sci-fi fan but thought I should read this classic by Ray Bradbury. Collection of loosely connected short stories about earthlings and their visits to Mars. I liked it even though I'm not a fan of the genre.
CURRENLY READING: Bucky F&%@ing Dent, David Duchovny.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: The Bohemian Flats, Mary Relindes Ellis. The Bear Comes Home, Rafi Zabor. This was the book gifted to me from Rick as a first-time visitor to the store. Thanks Rick!
|Another exterior view.|
|A nice day in Minnesota means sidewalk sales!|
|A great front window display.|
|Looking through the bookstore from the front entrance. That's Rick in the background taking a call from a customer and of course, regular readers recognize the celebrity in the foreground. Yes, that's my mom.|
|View looking to the right from the front entrance.|
|A few of the greeting cards available located near the front entrance.|
|A nice display of some of the regional selections.|
|Vinyl is coming back and you can find some here.|
|View looking from the back of the store toward the front entrance.|
|Reveler meets the celebrity.|
|Some of the vintage books you'll find here.|
|I tried to get a picture of the characteristic tin ceiling found in old buildings. This picture doesn't do it justice.|
|This is where Reveler takes his break when he's not greeting customers and selling books.|
|Note to self: get an audio book for the long road trips.|
|With Rick on the right, one of the fine co-owners at Fair Trade Books. Thanks for a great visit.|