Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Bookman - Grand Haven, MI

The Bookman, Grand Haven, MI
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As I travel the country I hear an optimistic, common theme from most independent bookstores.  They're back, they're returning.  But, here in Grand Haven...  The store was purchased by a group of 4, three years ago.  It was either that or see Grand Haven lose their bookstore.  Thank goodness Dick and his wife Sharon, Alexa, and Diane did their civic duty to preserve and continue this bookstore.  Unfortunately, there are still people in this tri-city area of Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Ferrysburg, who haven't been here yet or even heard of The Bookman.  Time for these citizens to do THEIR civic duty and you don't even have to buy a bookstore.  Go to The Bookman and buy a card, a gift, or even a book.  Or heck, call the store and order a book and have Dick deliver it for free (now that's what I call customer service!).  Or go to the website and order a book online  See?  You have lots of options.  Whatever you do, don't let this GEM slip away.

When the Group of Four bought this business the transformation began.  Window displays, sidelines, online orders, social media presence, and more.  Business started out quite good but has since moderated and the ownership continues to look for ways to sustain.  If you have't been here yet, let me tell you what you'll find.  A spacious one-level store in a 100+ year old building that used to be a grain store.  There are books for any budget, new and used.  The used books offered are all mass-market or trade paperbacks just inside the front door and to the left in a room of their own.  If you bring in books for trade you'll receive store credit.  There are a variety of sidelines including a wall of magazines, greeting cards, reading glasses, and numerous items for kids.  Since this business has been here for 43 years, there is a built-in base of regulars and there is a big boost from tourists in the summers.   The store does frequent events both on and off site.  On the weekday morning of my visit, Diane and Shannon were offering books for an event at the local community center.  They also have a great partnership with some of the local schools, bringing kids and parents into the store for various events.

So I can check all the boxes for this fine indie, including an uber friendly group of owners and staffers, except one.  Grand Haven, wake-up and smell the coffee!  After 43 years, it's time to visit this fantastic bookstore and the wonderful people you'll meet here.  Bring a friend, tell a friend, get a gift for a friend.  But don't miss out on this important part of your "shop local, buy local" culture.  Save a bookstore and you help save a community.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs.  This book gets some good reviews but not from me.  Meh.  Didn't grab me at all.  Story of a kid who wants to find where his grandfather spent his childhood, after escaping Europe in WWII.  Includes black and white photos of human oddities.  Blah.  Lots of people like this but it didn't work for me.   

CURRENTLY READING:  Lion, Saroo Brierley.  Previously published as A Long Way Home: A Memoir.    

The store has two entrances, the front entrance from the street and this side entrance from a large parking lot on the side of the building.  

Always check out the calendar of events, this one located near the front entrance.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Find this book cart for some great bargains.  

Directly to the left of the front entrance is a room that offers all of the store's used books.  This is the view looking into that room.  

Take a moment in the used book room to add a piece to the puzzle.  

Or enjoy a comfortable seat while you sample a book.  

One of my favorite things in the used book room and in the store is the hanging book ceiling.  I see creativity like this in every indie I visit.  

Lots of magazines to choose from.  

A few of the books of local and regional interest.  

A portion of the general fiction books offered, on these shelves many of the covers are displayed outward.  

Fishing and outdoors items sell well here, as demonstrated by this display.  

A nice display of some of the books by local authors.  

Any bookstore that displays artwork by kids will probably get the kids and their parents in the bookstore.  A good idea for all indies if they can do it.  

I see some great Christmas gifts for shoppers at this display.  If you have grandchildren, find these!

I love seeing and hearing about the history of bookstore buildings.  The Bookman is in this building, a former grain store.  This is now the storefront.  

A variety of newspapers offered at the checkout counter.  

A portion of the children's section.  

A neatly arranged display of paperback bestsellers.  

Display offering a variety of sidelines.  

Some more great gift ideas for your holiday shopping.  

An overview of the store looking from the rear toward the front entrance.  The side entrance to the store is on the left, just out of the picture.  

The cast of Bookman rockstars and one imposter.  Thanks for a great visit.    

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