|Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL|
There's a reason that Page & Palette was one of the featured indies in Ron Rice's, My Bookstore. In the words of Steph C., one of the veteran staffers, they have everything. No argument here. World's smallest vacuum? Check. Diaper tote bag? Check. Designer pillows? Check. Rear view spy glasses? Check. Greeting cards? Well, of course. And books galore! Pair all of this with their very nice in-store cafe, Latté Da Coffee Shop (love the name!) and The Book Cellar where you can enjoy a beer or a wine and you now have a complete independent bookstore. The way I see it, come early for a latte and a pastry, browse for books and read, visit The Book Cellar when happy hour rolls around, and then hang out in The Book Cellar for whatever author event will be in that area during the evening. Good grief, just rent me a bedroom and I'm set!
Page & Palette has been around for about 50 years in a town of approximately 17,000. Incredible when you think about towns much larger that have no bookstore at all, let alone one as complete as this. The secret here is very familiar to successful indies. A strong and loyal local customer base and a very good influx of tourists. The other factors are the coffee shop, the wine and beer bar, the frequent events, and the diversity and volume of sidelines offered. Stephanie thinks that the sidelines are an important part of any bookstore's business and it is definitely important here. The other factors include a growing retirement community and a town that has an appreciation for artists and their work. I thought Steph describe Fairhope best when she said it was vibrant and quaint. From my observations, I think she's spot on.
Speaking of vibrant, wait until you meet Steph. She has an undeniable energy and enthusiasm, so much so that I had to stay on my toes to keep up. Talking to me, making sales, talking to customers, and moving all around the store without missing a beat. An impressive bookseller who was fantastic to meet and visit with.
I didn't get to meet current owner, Karin W., but that's because she's also the mayor of Fairhope (I've always said bookstore people should have their own political party. I feel my prophecy has been fulfilled). But everyone I met at this award-winning bookstore couldn't have been nicer.
So what are you waiting for? If you're a regular, return there immediately. If you're a newbie, go now and take a friend. I guarantee you're going to love this place. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: The Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable, Dan Gable & Scott Schulte. Dan Gable is the biggest name in the history of wrestling and he's from Iowa. Even if you're not a wrestling fan, you will enjoy the many stories that he relates ranging from childhood, to college and the Olympics, and his family. This is an easy read and I highly recommend it.
CURRENTLY READING: A Paris Apartment, Michelle Gable.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: The Poet Of Tolstoy Park, Sonny Brewer. Forsaken, Ross Howell Jr. And gifted from Steph and the store, The Most They Ever Had, Rick Bragg. Thanks Steph.
|One of the exterior window displays.|
|This is the view looking into Latté Da, the coffee shop. You can enter here and then enter the bookstore through the cafe.|
|Or, you can enter through the bookstore entrance and this will be your view. From here, you can enter Latté Da through the inside on the near right.|
|What a great tradition in this community.|
|Looking to the right from the bookstore entrance.|
|You'll find just about any sidelines imaginable..|
|... like the world's smallest walkie talkies.|
|A wonderful display of staff picks. Astute readers may recognize the celebrity in the background browsing the bookshelf. Yes, that's my mom.|
|Half way through the store take a left into this area to find young adult lit and children's books.|
|I think these might come in handy with the world's smallest walkie talkies.|
|A partial view of the children's section.|
|Another partial view of the children's section and a chair to read a book to one of the kids.|
|Since I lose or break readers on just about every bookstore tour, I'm glad to find these displays.|
|Find the books of authors who will be featured in the store with upcoming events.|
|There are a variety of jewelry items and accessories here.|
|Some very hip Natural Life handbags and totes. The store carries a number of Natural Life items.|
|These are some of the designer pillows you'll find here. I thought these were great.|
|I can't believe the variety of sidelines here.|
|This is The Book Cellar. Beer, wine, events, and one darn comfy couch.|
|Another view of the Beer Cellar. Lots of seating, beverages, a couch, all within a bookstore AND a large screen TV??? Where am I, Xanadu? Yes please!|
|These are only a few of the unique socks you'll find here.|
|Don't think I've seen these anywhere!|
|An excellent selection of Europa publications.|
|View from the back of the store's main room looking toward the front entrance.|
|If your kids are in the local schools, come here for their books.|
|With Steph, one of the fine booksellers at Page & Palette. Thanks for a great visit.|