Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Main Street Books - Davidson, NC

Main Street Books, Davidson, NC
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My visit to Main Street Books reconfirms what I'm hearing from all over the country as I visit bookstores.  Almost all tell me that over the last few years, the pendulum is swinging back for independent businesses and the shop local movement .  Main Street Books has re-emerged over the last three years under the terrific leadership of Adah F.  Adah is the newish owner of a business that has been around for about 30 years, all in the same location on Main Street Davidson.  And while the store has always persevered over the years, Adah has taken it to a whole new level.  

This one-level store is located in the heart of Davidson, surrounded by many like-minded independent businesses, a very complementary location.  They have a great assortment of all new books and a good variety of sidelines including soy candles, reading glasses, lots of greeting cards, puzzles, and journals just to name a few.  As Eleanor, the events coordinator told me, the sidelines have sold very well.  

The interesting thing to note here is the transition the store underwent when Adah took over.  She's done all the things that successful owners do.  She started saying "yes' to just about everything.  Any authors who wanted to do events?  Yes.  Story times for kids?  Yes.  Bookclubs?  Yes.  She placed the bookstore's presence on social media (I always think this is good), introduced more sidelines to the store, and most importantly, took special care to offer a well-curated and updated book inventory.  Heck, on the evening of my visit the store was hosting an event that paired a book with a wine tasting.  Even if you're not a bookie, you'll become one if you drink enough wine!  If you're going to open a bookstore, you could get some great advice from Adah.

On the day of my visit I was fortunate to meet four of the staff members.  Adah, Eleanor, Jan, and Drew (go green) are just like everyone else I meet on this journey.  Great bookstore people.  You'e going to find this out because this wonderful indie is now on your list of places to visit.  You're welcome.  Enjoy your visit to this welcoming and warm bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENLTY READING:  Nobody's Fool, Richard Russo.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry.

One of the very attractive window displays.  

If all you need is a paper, you can get it out front.  Local paper, Wall St. Journal, or New York Times.  I really like it when bookstores carry national newspapers.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  This display includes a few of the store's staff picks.  

View looking to the left of the front entrance.  

A few of the greeting cards available just inside the front door.  Be sure to look around the store for more.  

A timely display for Father's Day.  

A great display of staff picks.  

Regular readers know that I enjoy this promotion that many indies offer.  Blind date with a book.  Wrapped in a plain brown wrapper with a few clues on the paper.  You don't know what you're truly getting until you open it.  Absolutely take a chance on one of these!

Along the top of the bookshelves you'll see poster size book covers.  I love these. 

One of the sidelines available here.  Timeless advice.    

Bottom shelf of the staff picks display shows what some of the bookclubs are reading.  

Another timely display for graduation season.  

Two bears sit atop a bookshelf keeping eye on the children's section below.  

A portion of the children's section.  

The store has a good variety of sidelines.  

If you go to school in the Davidson area, make sure you come here for the books you'll need.  I'm so glad when bookstores are able to partner with local schools in any way.  

A portion of the YA section.  

Some great places to sit near the back of the store.  

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

If you're on a budget, find this sales cart.  

A few of the items of local interest and by local authors.  

Get one of these soy candles that have different book themed aromas.  For example, get the candle that smells like a bookstore and you will permanently have low blood pressure!  

Many indies offer online sales, one more way to support your local bookstore.  

Great picture of the Main Street Books all-stars and one bumbling visitor.  From L-R, Eleanor, yours truly, Drew, Adah, and Jan, some of the fine folks you'll meet at Main Street Books.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Friday, May 18, 2018

Lit. On Fire Used Books - Peoria, IL

Lit. On Fire Used Books, Peoria, IL
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As with many of my visits on this journey, sometimes the story can be as much about the owner as the bookstore.  That's certainly at least part of the story at Lit. On Fire.  After meeting and visiting with Jessica S., the owner, I'd say that if she can do it, anyone can.  She's been a success for almost three years and I can happily say she's doing better than just hanging on.  Her business began in a 256 square foot space, then doubled its size, and then within the last year moved to its current location which is significantly larger.  She did this with a minimum amount of money, a background of experience, and an overflowing bucket of determination.

This new location near Bradley University has proven to be a great one for Lit. On Fire.  It is now on the very busy Main St. making it a much more visible location.  Although it is only a one-level store, its exterior is deceiving because it is much larger once you're inside.  This store offers mostly used books and has recently started to offer a few new books.  Many of the used books are donated but Jessica is picky about what she'll take.  She also knows everything that's in the store and inputs all of the books onto a data base.  And since this store is a one-person operation this is all the more impressive.  You won't get any of that used bookstore smell here (not that I mind that!), since Jessica takes pains to clean every book and sometimes put it in a dust jacket.  Few sidelines are offered but there is a nice line of locally crafted jewelry.

The store's customers consist of a good core of regulars as well as folks from the Bradley University community.  Out-of-towners are also finding their way here thanks to many nearby hotels.  There are a variety of events held right in the store including a monthly open mic night that could include anything from poetry readings to live acoustic music.  There's also a movie screen in the store that allows movie and TV show events.  There's a great social endeavor here with the store's annual fundraiser for domestic abuse awareness, very indie.

When you visit here you'll enjoy a neat, well-organized, and bright store.  It's all a credit to the store's owner, Jessica, who has herself and the store poised for a bright future.  Visit this bookstore and hear her story.  Congratulations Jessica.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough.  Mystery/thriller that has an incredible ending.  Couple in a loveless marriage and then the husband has an affair with a single woman.  Unknown to the couple is that the single woman is friends with both.  It gets a little weird but just hang on until the end.  Recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Nobody's Fool, Richard Russo.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Slammerkin, Emma Donoghue.  

The artsy camera angle view of the exterior.  

I wanted to capture the great store logo in the display window but the reflection interfered meaning you will be required to visit and see it for yourself.  

Shop local, Peoria, and all other towns fortunate to have an independent bookstore.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  What an improvement in space from the store's previous location.  

View looking to the right from the front entrance and a great mural.

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  Habitual readers may recognize the celebrity on the left browsing the books.  Yes, that's my mom.  Notice as well one of the Indie Bob Spot staffers, Michelle T.  

The store offers a nice line of locally created jewelry.  

Some great places to relax and try out a book.  

A great place to sit in the front of the store where you can browse through a book AND keep an eye on things outside.  

This display in the front of the store is where you can find a few of the new books.  

I always love finding great places to sit in a bookstore.  

A partial view of the children's area.  

Front to back, wall to wall books.  

Look carefully and you'll see a movie screen at the top of this picture that can be pulled down.  

Proceed to the back room which makes this store's space even larger than it appears.  

LOTS more books in here, the back room.  

View looking into the back room and to the left.  

Another nice view of the neatly organized back room.  

Outside the back room is a very nice patio space for nice days.  

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

Overview of the interior.  

You'll need one of these for all your books.  

Look for this sign to find your bargains.  

With Jessica, the fine owner at Lit. On Fire Used Books.  Thanks for a great visit.