Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Maple Street Bookshop - New Orleans, LA

Maple Street Book Shop - New Orleans, LA
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Readers, you've all heard of individuals who have had near death experiences.  People who have gone to the edge of the other side and then returned to the living.  That's what happened here to Maple Street Books in October of 2015.  Maple Street was on life support and they decided to give it last rites and pull the plug.  But a funny thing happened.  It had a near death experience and returned to life.  The resuscitation happened thanks to a community that refused to let their independent bookstore go.  When the closure was announced in October of 2015 the store received a surge of business.  It was so good that the owner, Gladin S., announced that the store would remain open into 2016.  So now the next challenge begins and that's where all of you come in.

The store was opened in 1964 and has been under varied ownership since then.  It's always been located on Maple St. in a mostly residential area surrounded by a few other small businesses.  It's in a very old house with multiple rooms and bare wood floors, giving it a good, rustic bookstore feel.  The location allows it to have a great local customer base and it also enjoys good customer traffic from the university communities and some tourists.  The store offers both new and used books, shelved together throughout the store.  Their strongest offerings are books of local interest, including Louisiana.  The children's department is excellent thanks to Cindy D., who has been involved with the store for many years.  They also offer a weekly story time, a great thing for this neighborhood since there are many families with young children.  There are only a few sidelines here but that is something Gladin is hoping to expand in the year ahead.  The store is very active with author events and has some good flexibility for hosting in the store or off-site.

But the real story here is Gladin and his willingness to keep the store open and work at reducing its debt.  They're living month to month at this time, but he's hopeful of continuing to make improvements and show growth.  I had a great time talking to both Cindy and him.  They told me so much about the store I can't possibly recount it all here.

Now here's your call to arms.  Help rescue a store, our culture, and our heritage.  On your next vacation to New Orleans, put this on your list.  If you're in New Orleans and know about this place, visit it and take a friend.  Do something to spread the word about a worthy independent bookstore that is now enjoying a rebirth and deserves to build on its storied and well acclaimed past.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Medical Medium, Anthony William.  If you're interested in alternative solutions of medical issues that the doctors can't diagnose accurately, this is a MUST read.  Absolutely fascinating.

CURRENTLY READING:  My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry, Fredrik Backman.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Not purchased but gifted.  The Keepers Of The House, Shirley Ann Grau.  Thanks Gladin.

A great view from the street.  

This front porch looks like a great place to try out a book and enjoy the neighborhood.  

You can look for a bargain on this cart before you even enter the store.  

Right this way.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  Astute readers may recognize the reclusive celebrity on the left.  Yes, that's my mom.  

I love this slogan and you can get it on a t-shirt here.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

Display of staff favorites.  

Display of recent releases.  

If you don't want to sit on the front porch look for these seats in the store.  

A portion of the children's section.  

Display of some of the local interests and authors.  

A genre unique to Maple St. Books!  

An award-winning bookstore.  

A view looking toward the front of the store.  

With owner Gladin S. on the left.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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