Friday, June 22, 2018

The Bookstore At Fitger's - Duluth, MN

The Bookstore At Fitger's, Duluth, MN
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One of the best things about this bookstore is that it's located in independent business heaven.  It is in the historic Fitger Brewing Co building near downtown Duluth.  The building is now a hotbed of several independent businesses including a hotel, The Boat Club restaurant, and a variety of retail offerings.  It seems very upscale so my concern for the bookstore was if they were able to meet the lease and stay in their great location.  I'm happy to say that this is not a problem thanks to the owner of the building who ONLY leases out space to independent businesses, no chains.  An understanding of "buy local, shop local" is in place with an owner who supports this trend.  Way to go, Fitger's!
History is everywhere in this building.  

Even though the "buy local, shop local" theme is strong here, tourists are a very important part of The Bookstore's business.  These customers will certainly find a store devoted to meeting their preferences.  The store offers all new books but also has a wide variety of sidelines that tourists will find appealing.  Everything from touristy postcards to unique snow globes with local scenes.  There are also many books of regional and local interest by local authors.  You'll find items that are offered in other indies such as greeting cards, book themed socks, (selling well!), Fitger's clothing and gear, and a large selection of candy.  This 3-room store has one room devoted entirely to children and I thought it was especially good.  Children's books of all kinds and children's sidelines of all kinds.  Kids will love this room.  The store's business can be challenging in the winter months but the holiday season brings in large numbers of tourists who really give the store a boost.

The store is a veteran; its been here for 25-30 years and as Jennifer J., the store manager told me, things are phenomenal.  Yet another testimony that I've heard repeatedly on my travels about the success and resurgence of independent bookstores.

Everyone I meet along my journey is simply the best and it is no different at The Bookstore At Fitger's.  Jennifer along with Anna and Amanda were terrific to meet and visit with.  I can see why tourists flock to this place with people like these.  

I think Duluth is a great town with a lot to offer and I enjoyed my time here.  Consider a trip here when planning your next vacation and pay a visit to all the fine businesses in the Fitger Building.  Make sure The Bookstore At Fitger's is one of your stops.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Wright Brothers, David McCullough.  Historical accounting of the Wright brothers and the birth of our country's pursuit of air travel.  Thoroughly researched, and includes all the challenges, the involvement of the family, and overcoming the ridicule of a skeptical public.  I loved this book, very informative and interesting.  Recommended.  

CURRENTLY READING:  The Good Nurse, Charles Graeber.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Tangerine, Christine Mangan.  

Exterior of the beautiful and historic Fitger's building, the former brewery of Fitger's beer is now a thriving retail center.  And they still brew beer.  

Fitger's Beer.  

Enter here and proceed downstairs to the bookstore.  

Another view of the historic building.  

The bookstore is located on the lower level.  

One of the expansive display windows. 

Before entering you can browse some bargains on this rack.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the right from the front entrance.  This room to the right is loaded with items for kids.  

Looking to the left from the front entrance.  

A very nice variety of tote bags and backpacks.  

The store offers lots of puzzles and these are just a few.  

Tourists will want to choose from a variety of Fitgers and Duluth postcards.  

A nice wall display of staff picks.  

A great section for tourists visiting the Duluth area.  

The candy at the check-out counter will go nicely with the book that you get.  

A portion of the books of local interest and by local authors.  

These neatly arranged beanie babies mark the entrance into the children's room.  

Head to the right after entering the store and you'll find this room, the children's section.  

Kids will find lots of books they'll like.  

Find this display of recent releases in the room to the left.  

This room to the left of the front entrance has books and lots of Fitger's swag.  

A fine assortment of magazines.  

A great selection of greeting cards in the room to the left.  

Some really nice Fitger's wear.  

An overview of the room to the left of the main entrance.  

With Anna on the left and Jennifer on the right, two of the fine folks you'll meet at The Bookstore At Fitger's.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Zenith Bookstore - Duluth, MN

Zenith Bookstore, Duluth, MN
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Hey Zenith City (that's YOU Duluth), have you heard about the big celebration in your town this July?  No, I'm not talking about the 4th of July.  It's going to be WAY bigger than that.  There's a little baby that's having its one-year-old birthday on July 1st.  A brand new baby BOOKSTORE.  If you're in the Duluth area and haven't seen this place don't walk there, sprint!  That July 1st party will be the perfect time to visit and enjoy cake, sales, promotions, and see a wonderful independent bookstore with terrific people.

But of course, you can visit this store anytime you like.  And when you do, you're going to discover what many on Duluth's west end have discovered as well as visiting out-of towners, a top-notch bookstore worthy of national attention and recognition.  Zenith Books (named after Duluth's nickname, Zenith City) is a one-level store offering new and used books along with a good variety of sidelines.  You'll find most of the new books on displays near the front of the store and most of the used books from the middle of the store on back.  Everything is very neatly arranged and easy to find.  The store is just now beginning to offer e-commerce for book orders via their website.  This makes it easy for grandparents in Arizona to buy books for the grandkids in Duluth.  There is a broad offering of sidelines including greeting cards, reading glasses, journals, and unique socks to name just a few.  The cards and especially the socks are the bestsellers here.  I've now heard just about every bookstore I've visited tell me that socks sell very well which makes me wonder why everyone doesn't carry them.

Store exterior with painted books onto the store front.  
I think my favorite thing here (besides the people) is the very attractive storefront art work of book covers and spines.  Certainly it is very important to get into the store and start browsing but I would encourage you to take time to admire the wonderful artwork on the outside which loudly proclaims this business as an independent bookstore.  

Bob D. co-owns the store along with his wife Angel.  I had the best time meeting and talking to Bob as well as store manager, Nikki.  They really know their books because I couldn't stump them!  You'll thoroughly enjoy meeting them and the rest of the staff at the party on July 1st.  Have a piece of cake for me and enjoy another up and coming independent bookstore.  Congratulations Bob and Angel.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  In The Unlikely Event, Judy Blume.  Didn't.  Couldn't get into it and I found it to be rather plodding.  Lots of different characters to keep track of early.  Just wasn't for me.    

CURRENTLY READING:  The Wright Brothers, David McCullough.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Florida, Lauren Groff.  The Modigliani Scandal, Ken Follett.  A butt-kicking Zenith t-shirt.    

There are two store entrances.  This is the side entrance that leads into the store from the convenient parking lot.  Great entrance except you'll miss seeing all of the terrific art work at the front of the store.  

Side of the building and sampling of art work before you get to the front entrance.  

Let the shopping begin and you're not even in the store.  

Check this incredible art work, just outside the front door.  My pictures don't really do it justice.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the right from the front entrance.  

Near the front of the store you'll find a great place to sit and try out a book.  

Display of new fiction with some staff recommendations.  

The store is able to host lots of events.  

The store carries lots of sidelines, these are just a few.  

Kids will love these animal puppets and finger puppets.  

Recently released paperbacks.  

My only disappointment was not meeting, Lisa, the store labradoodle.  This is her office.  

Lots of books of regional interest and by local authors.  

Great customer service that you should ask about at every bookstore.  

This display might not work in Florida, but it works in Duluth.  

Great artistic work portrays the front of the bookstore.  You can find this on some of the greeting cards.  

If you live in Duluth, you need this book.  

The quirky socks here sell well.  

Always one of my favorite pictures, a wall of books.  

A great place to relax in the middle of the store.  Regular readers may recognize the celebrity scanning the bookshelves.  Yes, that's my mom.  

Partial view of the children's section.  

Another overview of the children's section, a nice space.  

One of the book nooks.  

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

You can find stuff like this at an indie!

Collectors might find exactly what they're looking for here.  

With Nikki on the left and Bob on the right, two of the fine folks you'll meet at The Zenith Bookstore (and a shout out to Liz for a great picture).  Thanks for a great visit.