Thursday, November 3, 2016

Janke Book Store - Wausau, WI

Janke Book Store, Wausau, WI
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If any bookstore could be labeled legendary or iconic, this is it.  There are many things you could associate with Wausau but this store should be at the top of the list.  This business has been here since 1874 and in the same family since the end of WWI, 1919.  This place has survived the challenges that many other bookstores could not.  Janke's (pronounced "yawn-key") is the oldest bookstore in Wisconsin and in my experiences of visiting bookstores, one of the oldest that has been continually owned by one family.  Jim J. and Jane J.-J. are brother and sister, current co-owners of a business purchased by their grandfather and a partner in 1919.  The store passed down to their father and now to them.  I find this story absolutely remarkable for so many reasons.  And as fascinating as this is, today it endures as a thriving bookstore where you can find just about anything.  As Jane told me, there is really nothing like it anywhere in the area.

This store is big and it has so much variety that you'll probably see something new on every visit.  The sidelines are a critical part of the business and I can't even begin to name everything they have.  There are the usual journals, lots of pens and markers, jigsaw puzzles, Baggallini, and as many greeting cards as I've seen anywhere.  If you want to start on holiday shopping, this place is great.  There are also numerous items here for kids and I can guarantee they will love this place.

The two-level store has a great assortment of books on both levels.  Recently, they've decided to start adding used books to their inventory and this part of the business may expand.  You'll find these on the lower level with many other bargain buys.  This is also a good space that the store uses for author events.  As you might expect for a store of this longevity, there is a strong local customer base and many were in the store on the day of my visit.  One of the regulars was an 87 years old lady who has patronized the store in all four of its locations over the years (it has been in its current location for 25 years).

I had a fantastic time meeting Jim and Jane who were so nice to talk to during my visit.  I asked them if there would be a 4th generation of family ownership for the bookstore and it doesn't sound like that will be in the cards.  What does that mean?  You need to get your butt in here and visit this store now and visit often!  This is more than a Wisconsin landmark, it's a national one.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  In The President's Secret Service, Ronald Kessler.  An inside look at the Secret Service and the disturbing shortcomings and corner-cutting that puts our first families and other protectees at risk.  One more frightening thing few of us know about.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Heart, Maylis De Kerangal.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Bright With Silver, Kathrene Pinkerton.  The Perfume Collector, Kathleen Tessero.  

Another exterior picture.  It's a big store front.  

One of the window displays.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the left of the store from the front entrance.

A portion of the regional and local interest selections.  

Incredible magazine rack.  

This is Bruce and he is huge.  People come into the store just to see this.  

My picture doesn't do this justice.  A wonderful painting of 4 generations of Jankes in the original store.  Grandfather is in the rear, father in foreground right, Jane and her daughter in foreground left.  

See what some of the local bookclubs are reading.  

Just a few of the unique socks available.  

Great selection of calendars and planners.  

I've found the Baggallini line offered in a few other indies.  

More sidelines!  Right inside the front door.  

The selection of greeting cards here is outstanding.  

If you spend a winter in Wisconsin, you'll need a pair of these to go with your book.  

A portion of the children's section.  

Hey Grandparents, here's a gift idea!

LOTS of puzzles.  

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

One of the long book aisles.  

Your browsing has just begun.  Head downstairs.  

This is true in every independent bookstore.  Don't even think about it.  

View looking into the lower level.  You'll find bargains galore here including used books.  This space is also used for events.  

This indie is fortunate to have lots of storage space on their lower level.  

Not surprisingly, an award-winning business.  

With Jane on the left and brother Jim on the right, the fine co-owners at Janke Book Store.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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