|Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Santa Fe, NM|
Ok readers, let's play a game of "drop the reader in a bookstore and guess what state you're in." You'll be blindfolded and dropped into the store. The blindfold will be removed and judging only by your surroundings, you must decide what state the bookstore is in. You'll instantly know you're not in Minnesota, Vermont, or Florida. This store is a beautiful representation of a bookstore in the southwestern US. The decor, furniture, and fixtures are all uniquely endemic with the scenic state of New Mexico. Furniture that is practical as well as works of art, large antlers mounted above the fireplace, and distinctive flooring in this historic building located in old town Santa Fe make this a unique destination. Then, of course, you have the contents of the store filled with all new books, a variety of literary themed sidelines, and a full service cafe. No wonder this indie is on a successful run of 40 years.
This store enjoys a strong local customer base of regulars and it's no surprise. Melissa, one of the booksellers, told me that part of the store's success is due to Santa Fe being a very literate town. Reading AND thinking are important here which is reflected by the number of bookstores in a smallish (approximately 80,000) sized town. There is also a large part of the community involved in the visual arts and performing arts, something that is always an asset for local bookstores.
In addition to regular customers the store has good business from tourists. I think they do an especially good job here for these customers with lots of maps, trail guides, local activities, and many books of interest about the town and the region. The store shares space with a wonderful cafe that provides lots of seating area. It's in this area where the store has plenty of room to host events and these are a big part of the store's business.
Melissa and Courtney were two of the booksellers I met on this visit and they were able to share a few things with me all on a very busy Saturday morning.
But here's your Collected Works store trivia. Over a century ago, guess who was housed in a basement jail below the current bookstore? Billy The Kid. Now you can visit a terrific bookstore and enjoy it with a bit of history on the side. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: Sons And Soldiers, Bruce Henderson. For those who enjoy obscure WWII history, you'll like this. Story of young German Jewish boys who were sent out of the country in the late 1930s by their families in hopes of escaping Nazi aggression. Many found themselves in America when we entered the war and enlisted in hopes of returning to Europe to fight for their families. They became part of what was known as "The Ritchie Boys," a group of fluently bilingual US military special intelligence officers used to find out Nazi secrets from captured prisoners. Outstanding and highly recommended.
CURRENTLY READING: My Absolute Darling, Gabriel Tallent.
|Exterior view of the historic building, home of Collected Works.|
|This is one of several exterior entrances into the store.|
|View looking into the store from the side entrance.|
|View to the right from the entrance. You'll see another entrance in this picture.|
|Looking to the left from my entrance.|
|A variety of journals.|
|Nicely displayed wall of fiction.|
|Just a few of the books of local and regional interest.|
|Always ask about store events. Collected Works has a very active schedule of events.|
|Great display of works by local and regional authors.|
|View looking into the spacious cafe.|
|That is one heck of a set of antlers.|
|Another view of the cafe. This is also the space where they host events.|
|I love these light fixtures.|
|If you have a nice day, head out to the patio area.|
|Overview of the cafe and looking back toward the bookstore section.|
|Partial view of the children's section.|
|Even the chairs for little readers are pieces of art.|
|I love these chairs.|
|A few of the greeting cards available.|
|Another beautiful piece of southwestern-themed furniture.|
|As well as this.|
|I hope you can visit the bookstore on a day like the one I visited.|
|Here's your history of the store's site.|
|With Courtney, one of the fine booksellers at Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse.|