Sunday, October 29, 2017

Coffeetree Books - Morehead, KY

Coffeetree Books, Morehead, KY
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Morehead, KY is a town of approximately 7000, it is the home of Morehead State University, a growing medical center, and a gem of a bookstore and coffee shop located on Main St. in the center of town.  This is the rock star though in Morehead, this is the beacon, and this is an established multi-purpose business that, it would seem to me, everyone here must know about.  And after meeting Melissa, one of the booksellers, I know that the community totally supports and embraces this remarkable business.  So impressive in a town this size when other communities much larger have nothing at all.  Congrats Morehead!

I've seen bookstores in buildings that have been many different things in previous lives.  I've found bookstores in former churches, schools, fire stations, banks, fitness clubs, funeral homes, live theaters, gyms, and now an old movie theater.  And when you see this space you'll notice the movie theater interior effects everywhere.  Coffeetree partners with The Fuzzy Duck coffeeshop and this is what you'll see when you enter.  This is the former theater lobby and concession stand area.  But follow the sign to the bookstore (formerly the theater entrance) and you'll enter the large-roomed former movie house, now bookstore.  Walking into this I felt like I was entering the technicolor portion of the movie, The Wizard Of Oz.  A large, expansive space that when you take out the theater seats gives you room for everything, not to mention a built-in events area with the movie screen stage.

There is so much here that I can't even begin to list it all.  A great inventory of new books, a wonderful children's section that includes a weekly story time with Melissa and also offers lots of toys and games.  Locally made mugs, pottery, t-shirts, socks, yarn and knitting accessories, greeting cards (of course) and nose pencil sharpeners.  They also have a great partnership with a few of the schools and are able to do book fairs AND provide coffee.  Every local school district should take advantage of this.  Do you see why this is a shining star in Morehead?!

I didn't get to meet co-owners Susan and Grant but what a great time I had meeting Melissa and talking to her about the store and the town, something I always appreciate at my bookstore visits.

Travelers, check this place out but make sure you allow plenty of time to see everything Coffeetree Books has to offer.  Morehead, you already have.  Keep it up!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon, Kelley and Thomas French.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  A Coffeetree Books t-shirt.  

This is the concession stand/lobby area of the former movie theater that is now Fuzzy Duck Coffeeshop, looking to the right from the front entrance.  

After getting your coffee, follow this sign to the bookstore in the former theater.  

Looking into the bookstore after walking through the hallway from the front coffeeshop.  Notice the hanging blue theater curtains and speakers on the side and notice the white movie screen in the front.  

A few steps into the store and looking to the left.  The curtains and speakers are on that far wall as well.  

Indie Next List featured books on display.  

Display of staff favorites.  

Bestseller display.  

See what some of the local reading groups are reading.  

A great and unique buy for those so inclined!

Lots of wonderful sidelines created by local artists.  

Locally produced honey.  

There are lots of places to sit in this store.  Some of the chairs have tables and students from Morehead State frequent the store for study time.  

In front of the movie screen is a great stage for author events and guest speakers.  

A partial view of the children's section, located in the back of the store, or in front of the silver screen.  

Another great area of chairs and tables.  

Buy your yarn and your knitting needles, then sit down at a table and start knitting with a local knitting club.  

Lots of yarn and accessories.  

You'll need these to knit.  

Display of books made into movies.  

True at every independent bookstore.  

A good assortment of games.  Kids will find lots of fun things here. 

A few of the greeting cards available.  

Doesn't everyone need one of these?

Non-matching socks, not that we can't manage this on our own!  

The long wall of books.  

Lots of different chimes.  

View from the movie screen back toward the front of the store.  

Consider if you need these for Halloween.  
With Melissa, one of the fine booksellers at Coffeetree Books.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Smith & Hannon Bookstore - Cincinnati, OH

Smith & Hannon Bookstore, Cincinnati, OH
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For me, the third time's the charm to visit Smith & Hannon Books in Cincinnati.  I don't know if there's another bookstore I tried to get to any harder than this one.  I found out about this store when I was in Cincinnati on a previous tour at The Booksellers On Fountain Square.  Emily told me I have to go to Smith & Hannon and meet Joyce, the owner.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any of my Indie Bob stuff with me so all I did was run into the store, meet Joyce, and said don't go anywhere I'm coming back.  The 2nd time I tried was after leaving Gramercy Books in Bexley, OH.  On the way to Smith & Hannon the Indie Bob Spot car had a flat tire, on a busy interstate, and the lug wrench didn't fit the lug nuts.  Strike two.  But now I can proudly say, mission accomplished.  I had the Indie Bob Spot stuff and there was no car trouble.  And thankfully, it was well worth the wait to see this bookstore and meet (again) the fine people who work there.   

I think indie owners around the country would be extremely envious of this store's location.  Downtown Cincinnati, right between the Bengal's football stadium and the Red's baseball stadium, attached to a prominent African-Amercian museum, and a destination for tourists and tour buses weekly.  This is a fabulous customer base to work with and there are also many regular customers that visit the store.  Smith & Hannon is uniquely located as part of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center museum, yet it is an entirely separate and independent business.  This is like no bookstore I've visited.  It is African-Amercian owned and a natural fit for the museum.  It has been here a year and a half but before moving here, the bookstore was in the Bond Hill neighborhood where it had been for 13 years.  

The store offers an extensive inventory of African-American literature as well as some general fiction.  They have new and used books and also some vintage and collectable books that book collectors should check out.  There are African-Amercian items, museum souvenirs, CDs and DVDs, and much more.  Joyce told me she might start offering music on vinyl as well.

Even though this bookstore has a unique situation, there's nothing unique about the people who work here.  It's a two-person operation with Joyce and her one staffer, Carole.  These two ladies are as nice as everyone else I meet along my journey and you will have a wonderful time meeting them and enjoying a book inventory that you won't see at all the other bookstores. Inform yourselves, America!  Visit this great bookstore attached to an important historical museum and landmark.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet.  Based on the true story of one of Scotland's most renowned crimes that took place in 1869 in the Highlands of the country.  A small village elects a constable who turns out to bully the accused murderer and his family.  The murderer is the 17-year old son of a man who has been intimidated and harassed.  There's no question as to the murderer but MANY other questions need to be answered.  Includes original documents.  I thought this book was outstanding.  Highly recommended.     

CURRENTLY READING:  Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon, Kelley and Thomas French.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Not purchased but gifted.  A Freedom Center t-shrit.  Thanks Joyce.  

Enter the bookstore through the museum entrance.  There is a fee for touring the museum but it doesn't cost a thing to visit the bookstore.  

This is the inside entrance to the bookstore.  

Beautiful view looking into the bookstore and to the right.  

View looking into the bookstore and toward the left.  

Just a few of the ethnic items you'll see here.  

There are a variety of jewelry items here and there is something for every budget.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

Look for this shelf for some great bargains.  

The store also has vintage and collectable books available.  If you're looking for something and don't see it, ask.  They might have it.  

Display of books by Cincinnati authors.  

 A good assortment of DVDs.  

Looking back through the store from the check-out counter.  

Display of relevant books.  

Look in this display case for higher end jewelry.  

Great places to sit and try out a book.  

Looking back through the bookstore.  The lighting here is very attractive.  

A nice display of new arrivals.  

With Joyce on the left and Carole on the right, two of the fine people you'll meet at the Smith & Hannon Bookstore.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Bookshelf - Madeira, OH

The Bookshelf, Madeira, OH
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This is The Bookshelf, or maybe, the little engine that could.  This little engine that could has been plugging down the tracks for 42 years, each year capably led by women who have had a passion for books.  In their 42 years, there have been 17 owners, all women.  I've been to some great women-owned bookstores and I'm so glad I can include this long-running indie in both caterogires.  Great AND women-owned.

This smallish one-level store in the greater Cincinnati area offers all new books and a good variety of sidelines.  The sidelines for kids are especially good partially due to the closing of a nearby toy store a few years ago.  And as with many other bookstores, the greeting cards offered here sell very well.  The Bookshelf enjoys a solid nucleus of regular customers and does enjoy some out-of-town shoppers during the holidays.  One of the nice things for the store is its proximity to four school districts.  They offer teacher discounts (hey local teachers, support your community) and stock lots of required reading books for students.  The store is the preferred indie for many bookclubs and some of these are store bookclubs.  Let's just say that after 42 years, this place has things figured out.

The success of this store is thanks to the three founding women and the 14 who have followed them to the present.  If they're all like Betsy S., one of the current co-owners, it's no wonder this place has endured and prospered.  Betsy's background was in banking but her talent is obvious in the bookstore.  My only regret this visit was not meeting the other three co-owners who are certainly talented from everything I saw and experienced.

Thankfully, on this day Betsy tipped me off about finding this place and I'll also share this with you.  The address is on Camargo Rd. but you can't enter here.  Go behind the building and you'll see the entrance as well as ample free parking to go with it.

Hey Cincinnati, you need to check this place out if you haven't done so already.  And if you have been here, keep returning and bring a friend.  Betsy is as knowledgeable and as nice as they come so I can GUARANTEE an incredible bookstore visit.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, Chris Cleave.  Story of four Londoners during the blitz of WWII.  Follows their different paths to surviving or not, serving or not.  I really enjoyed this book and if you're a fan of historical fiction from this era, put this one on your list.  I think its descriptions of the London blitz are probably pretty accurate.  Recommended.  

CURRENTLY READING:  His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Autobiography Of An Ex-Coloured Man, James Weldon Johnson.  Tell The Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt.  Roz Chast postcards.    

This patio area is just outside the store and would be a great place to try out your new book purchase on a nice day.  

Start your book browsing on the rack outside the entrance.  

Continue your browsing in the display window.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  Shrewd readers might recognize the celebrity looking over the book display.  Yes, that's my mom.  

If you're looking for a bargain, this 40% off table might help.  

Two great seats to sample a book or take a look at the new calendars.  

A lending library of audio books.  A great idea.  

I always enjoy seeing what the book clubs are reading.  

Kids should check out this line of items from Workman.  

Just a few of the books of local interest and local authors.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

Another display I always enjoying seeing.  

Relevantly themed items available.  

Lots of great items for kids.  

A portion of the children's section.  

The children's section is supervised by Elmo and Cookie Monster.  

More kids' games and toys.  

Students in the area can come in here and pick up a copy of their required reading.  

View of the store looking from the back toward the front entrance.  

If you're a regular customer this promotion is a no-brainer.  Join.  

With Betsy, one of the fine co-owners at The Bookshelf.  Thanks for a great visit.