|Thomas A. Lyons Fine Books, Neenah, WI|
One of my goals for this write-up is to clear up a misconception that some community members have about this bookstore. The official name of this indie is Thomas A. Lyons Fine Books. "Fine," does not mean exquisite, expensive, or "do not touch." People, this isn't Corinthian leather, it's a bookstore. Go, look, browse, and TOUCH. To further dispel any confusion, just call it Lyon's Books. But honestly, I do think all the books here are absolutely fine!
Lyons Books has been around for about 6 years but has been in its 2nd and current location for the last 6 months. The move to the new location has been a big improvement for visibility and business. The attractive store front is on the very busy Wisconsin Ave surrounded by other small businesses in downtown Neenah. Meredith, Tom's daughter, said that people are still discovering the store after 6 years. No sooner had she told me that than a local customer came in and said he didn't know this bookstore was here.
This one-level indie offers new, used, and collectible books in a perfectly comfortable space with lots of great places to sit and read. The beautiful wooden bookshelves are a replication of the ones in Faulkner House Books in New Orleans. Customers can receive cash for their books that the store agrees to take. I think their inventory of collectibles is pretty good and I would encourage collectors to purchase in store or online. They also offer some sidelines including greeting cards, soy bookstore candles, and journals. Like many other bookstores they're still trying to figure out what sidelines are best to offer. Their price ranges can fit any budget with books from $5 - $15,000. Keep in mind that what you're seeing here is the tip of the iceberg. There's a storage space downstairs and also a houseful of books stored at Tom's home.
Most interesting to me is that the store also offers books for sale in Savannah, GA, using a portion of the space at E. Shavers Books. Meredith said that items that may not sell in Wisconsin will sell in Georgia. A great way to acquire diversity of customers if you can do it.
I didn't get to meet Tom on this visit but Meredith was super to meet and talk to. Neenah, I suggest you do the same thing I did. Visit Lyons Books and enjoy a great experience in a bookstore that you all need to see. The kind of store that is needed in every community. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, Dinaw Mengestu. The author immigrated to America from Ethiopia and this is a work of fiction about the African immigration experience of a small business owner. The challenges of running a failing convenience store in a bad neighborhood of Washington DC. Story of relationships with other immigrants and a white woman with a bi-racial daughter in the neighborhood. Although fiction, this might give you some insight into what immigrants go through.
CURRENTLY READING: Little Faith, Nickolas Butler.
|Another view of the exterior.|
|Very spacious front display window.|
|View looking into the store from the front entrance. Sophisticated readers may recognize the celebrity in the center. Yes, that's my mom.|
|Lots of great places to sit throughout the store and try out books.|
|Some super book art in the front window.|
|There are a few sidelines.|
|Many indies carry these unique bookstore soy candles.|
|Some of the greeting cards available.|
|Partial view of the children's area.|
|Nice display of recent bestsellers.|
|Find the bestsellers right in the middle of the store.|
|Have a seat and sample a book.|
|Near the front of the store is this display case featuring some collectible editions.|
|If you're a Zane Grey fan, you need to visit this store.|
|ALWAYS consider this option in any indie.|
|Not only lots of great places to sit, but great COMFY places to sit.|
|A few of the items of local and regional interest.|
|If you're on a budget, find this table.|
|It's baseball season and this is the section where you can improve your game!|
|Yeah, if I sit here you might need to wake me when the store closes!|
|A very cool lion head keeps an eye on the store.|
|Some of the collectible editions can be found in this case near the back of the store.|
|Overview of the store looking from the back toward the front entrance. Very attractive space.|
|With Meredith, one of the fine folks you'll meet at Thomas A. Lyons Fine Books. Thanks for a great visit.|