Friday, August 8, 2014

Watermark Books & Café - Wichita, KS

Watermark Books & Café - Wichita, KS

When I visit these independent bookstores on my journey I'm always hopeful of meeting an owner or a manager.  However, upon entering I usually have the camera up in the air and am taking pictures immediately and tend to be oblivious about everything else.  No different here at Watermark Books.  I enter the store snapping away and within 5 minutes a very nice staffer approaches me and asks if I like the flowers in the cafe.  Yes, yes, of course, now chip chop chip and take me to Sarah the owner.  I'd been had!  This WAS Sarah the owner and I didn't have to find her she found me.  Here she was near the entrance of Watermark Books, greeting me the common man (cue Aaron Copland music) and a visiting bookstore customer!  This was the start of my fantastic visit to Watermark Books in Wichita, Kansas.

Watermark Books is a one level bookstore and it has a little bit of everything.  Only new books are sold in this store and aside from that you can find greeting cards, magazines, t-shirts, book bags, socks, a great selection and area of children's books, and other incidentals.  Sarah says that the store needs these other items to continue to be successful and that socks are a good seller.  She also shared with me that the cafe is huge for the store and is responsible for approximately 30% of store profits.  To a store, almost all indies I've visited have said they have to sell more than just books to be successful.  They also host lots of book clubs in the store.  This means regular customers in the doors.  According to Sarah, creativity in the business is a key to success.  Well done, Sarah!

There is a wonderful cafe right here in the store.  There is also a lower level with two large rooms for meetings and/or events.  However, many of their author readings and events are held at an off site venue to accommodate larger crowds.  This indie is active, engaged, and thriving.  It's easy to see when you visit here why this indie has great local support and success.

And as with so many others, the finger points directly at Sarah B. and her great staff.  I'm sure I'm missing a few things about Watermark Books, they were all sharing so many things and all so willingly.  Sarah and all her staffers, including Ann and Carl, couldn't have been more helpful and informative.  As with other indie people, they also recommended other independent bookstores that I should visit.  Not only do they suggest more books for my pile, they suggest more bookstores for me to visit.  Competitors.  I shake my head.

If you're near Wichita drop in here and have a latte or some carrot cake.  This stuff is great but talk to the staffers because they are the best.  Actually, if you're in Wichita and HAVEN'T dropped in to Watermark Books, move it to the top of your list.  Get off your butt and get there!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Die Trying, Lee Child.  Jack Reacher novel and a page-turner.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The UnAmericans, Molly Antopol.  We Are Called To Rise, Laura McBride.  Two authors I've never heard of but looking forward to them.

Watermark Books, here I come!

You don't want to sit inside and try out a book?  Then go outside to a patio area!  

View just inside the door looking to the right.  

Here's the cafe.  They told me the carrot cake is to die for!

Another view of the cafe and then some staffer approaches me asking if I like the flowers...

...that was no staffer, that was the owner Sarah B... I quick put a Watermark Books t-shirt on and posed with her!  

A great children's area.

I selected two from this display of staff picks.  

Indie picks.  

Some of the t-shirts and book bags.  I'm a sucker for t-shirts like I am for books.  Always like seeing this.  

Great place in the corner of the store.

Socks are a great seller here.   

Two of the wonderful people I met here, Carl and Ann.  

Greeting cards.  Lots of extras at this indie.  

I love this poster promoting the Women Writer Series.  Posted on the men's bathroom door!  Perfect!  Yes, we need to be hit over the head sometimes!  

Whoa, all at once??!!  Sign me up!  

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