Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Book Vault - Oskaloosa, IA

The Book Vault - Oskaloosa, IA

(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

How has this indie escaped my attention for so long?  Of course, I've never met a bookstore I haven't liked but there are naturally some that may be more memorable.  This store is memorable on many levels (literally THREE levels here!) and even though I don't rank bookstores, I think this one is not only one of the best in Iowa but one of the best in the midwest.  I think it could make one of those lists.  Dare I say, it could easily "vault" onto one of those lists.

What I like best about this bookstore is the beautiful, historic building it's housed in.  I've seen bookstores in every space and building imaginable and now I've seen one in a bank building built in 1892.  The entrance, the tiled floor, the ceiling, the bank vaults and teller area, and even the echo all will tell you that you're in a bank.  But the fairly extensive inventory of new books, the variety of sidelines, the very nice demonstration kitchen (cooking books and cooking events are a strength here), and a spacious upstairs event space (rent this space for bridal showers, baby showers, or attend an author event) will tell you that you're in a 5-star independent bookstore.  And this doesn't even take into account the occasional author events, the several bookclubs that meet here, and the nice people who work here that are so representative of bookstore people I meet across the country.

So how the heck does The Book Vault do it?  This indie has been in business for 10 years now and is located in a small college town of approximately 11,000.  Communities much larger have nothing like this.  But this bookstore is so fortunate to have a benefactor, The Musco Corporation, an international company, for its owner.  Musco takes seriously the importance of having a vibrant, educated community and backs this bookstore, in part, due to the attractiveness of its presence when looking at prospective employees.  Isn't it interesting that a corporation understands the importance of an independent bookstore in the community and follows through by actually owning the bookstore.  All bookstores should be so lucky!  

So The Book Vault can put checks in all the boxes that makes it a great indie, including the nice people who work here.  April, the store manager, and Jane, a bookseller who has been here since the opening, are fantastic.  I'm so fortunate that I get to meet wonderful people in bookstores and these two are the best.  But everyone in Oskaloosa already knows this.

My  prediction for The Book Vault is continued success and now that it is over 10 years in running, its on the way to legendary status among indies.  You need to get here now and see what I'm talking about.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Missoula, Jon Krakauer.  I've heard good things about this author from many people and they were right.  This is the true story of higher than normal sexual assaults in a college town and the inability of the justice system to prosecute the offenders.  The book is an eye-opener.  Troubling subject, but highly recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Redbreast, Jo Nesbø.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Residence, Kate Andersen Brower.

A great coffee shop right next door.  They are connected on the inside of the two buildings.  If I were doing a blog about coffee shops, this place would be featured.  

Beautiful view looking into the store from the front entrance.  Habitual readers my recognize the celebrity I spotted here in the foreground.  Yes, that's my mom.  

This is the view looking up at the ceiling.  The picture doesn't do it justice therefore you'll have to come and see for yourself.  

Well-organized display of best sellers.   

You can find staff selections throughout the store.  

One of the book aisles on the main floor.  

This view looks into one of the bank vaults.  All three vaults are stocked with books.  

There are lots of places to sit here and try out a book.  

There are a variety of sidelines here including those kind of socks that you only see in an independent bookstore.  

Display of recent releases.  

Just a few of the greeting cards available.  

This view is further back on the main level.  They have a great kitchen station here for their cooking events.  

Clean off this counter and you'll be watching a cooking demo.  

This view is from the kitchen station in the back of the store looking toward the front.  

View looking down on the back of the store.  You can see the kitchen at the top left of photo.  

A portion of the children's department.  

On my way to the top level and looking down at a portion of the second level.  You can see the front entrance in the background.  

There are three levels in this store and this is the view from the top level looking down on the front of the store and the ground level.  

With April, the fine store manager at The Book Vault.  Thanks for a great visit.  

No comments:

Post a Comment