|Excelsior Bay Books - Excelsior, MN|
This entry will serve a dual-purpose. It will be your usual info on another wonderful independent bookstore and also a belated 20th birthday congratulations to Excelsior Bay Books. By the time you read this the party and celebration will be over and the store can move forward, continuing to build on its first 20 years of success. Excelsior Bay Books is now old enough to drink beer in Minnesota but will have to wait one more year to vote! The good news is that it has survived and grown, and in the words of Ellie, a co-owner, tenacity is one of the reasons for success.
This is a very comfortable, one-level bookstore located in the downtown area of Excelsior. The children's section is one of the strengths here, including a good variety and inventory of sidelines. Kids will definitely love visiting here. Sidelines are certainly an important part of the business and jigsaw puzzles are one of the items that do very well. The common denominator of successful indies is a strong and loyal local customer base and that is no different here. This base is enhanced in the summer months thanks to an influx of tourists to this scenic town. An abundance of author and store events is another one of those successful characteristics and Excelsior Bay has them both in the store and off-site for larger events. You'll be able to find free parking on the street nearby and I especially enjoyed visiting one of my favorite regional coffeshops, Dunn Bros. Coffee, located across the street.
Excelsior Bay Books is a five-person operation with co-owners, Ann N., and Ellie T., and 3 additional part-time employees (the perfect number for the Minnesota Independent Bookstore basketball league!) (just kidding, work with me here people!). I had a wonderful time meeting and talking to Ann and Ellie, as well as another Ann who is one of the part-time booksellers. Ann (the co-owner) spoke very highly of the staff and the great work all of them do with the store. Another attribute of successful indies and I'm not surprised that it's true here. It's especially encouraging to hear Ellie state that this indie is enjoying an uptick in business, similar to so many other bookstores I visit.
|This picture doesn't do it justice. It really is an ugly couch.|
What else? Well, if for no other reason, you need to visit this place to see their award-winning couch. It's uh, well, ugly. It's so ugly it won an award for ugly bookstore couches. Thanks to Excelsior Bay Books I now have one more thing to look for on my journey across the country to independent bookstores. Ugly furniture. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: The Painter, Peter Heller. I didn't care for, The Dog Stars, by the same author, but I did like this one. A talented artist who doesn't fit the stereotype, living in the southwest. He uses painting and fishing to escape the realities of hard-luck and tragedy. A compelling read even though the writing style is a little different. Recommended.
CURRENTLY READING: God'll Cut You Down, John Safran.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: Lab Girl, Hope Jahren.
|View looking through the store from the front entrance.|
|Looking to the right from the front entrance.|
|Happy Belated Birthday! Now, go buy a belated book to celebrate!|
|A few of the greeting cards available.|
|The store has an active event schedule.|
|Some of the sidelines available. Kids will especially love these.|
|A great place to sit and try out a book. This chair is the cousin of the ugly couch.|
|There are lots of jigsaw puzzles to choose from, one of the top sellers here.|
|Take your child for a ride on the Story Time Trolley.|
|More neat stuff for the kids.|
|Find this display for a bargain.|
|A portion of the children's section.|
|Little chairs for little readers.|
|View from the back of the store looking toward the front entrance.|
|With Ellie on the left and Ann on the right. Thanks for a great visit.|