Sunday, December 30, 2018

Harvey's Tales - Geneva, IL

Harvey's Tales, Geneva, IL
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Finally!  I've found the secret for couples who want to open their own bookstore.  It will be imperative that they have a grown child who is a talented architect (adopt, borrow, or procreate).  It will be helpful if one of the spouses' has a background in something like corporate real estate, enabling contacts in the construction industry.  Throw in a dose of practicality and a large bucket of passion and you have the recipe for a beautiful, new bookstore in Geneva, IL.

I recently discovered this new member of the bookstore world, only 3-months old.  I'm happy to say that they're off to a great start, already seeing regular customers in the store.  Harvey's is inside a renovated 160-year old house and owners Chuck and Roxanne O. are blessed to have a son who is an architect who was able to design a beautiful interior.  Unfortunately, my pictures below won't do it justice.  A lot of thought, effort, and time went into this store and it shows.  I'm noticing these efforts and talents in so many of the new indies I visit.  An absolutely gorgeous space has blossomed inside a two-level store.  Roxanne told me their goal was to have something warm and welcoming.  Mission accomplished.  The main level has an attractive fireplace in the store's center underneath a dazzling chandelier.  To the right is a charming cafe and to the left is the children's area, Hazel's Corner.  Expect to see the store offering a story time soon in this area.

Harvey's Tales offers all new books along with a strong inventory of sidelines.  So far, the quirky bookstore socks and literary-themed scarves have been two of the stronger items.  As with other indies, their sidelines will continue to evolve over time.  They also have their eye on hosting events and that schedule will grow in time as well.  In short, Chuck and Roxanne have done a great job getting this business off the ground and have big plans for the future.

The store is named after their dog, Harvey, who didn't live to see the store open.  But don't despair dog-lovers, they now have 11-month old Hazel who hopefully someday will be a bookstore dog.

If you're in the Geneva area and haven't checked this place out yet, wow, get with it.  This indie is a gem with a bright future and you'll see why when you pay it a visit.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Don't Let Go, Harlan Coben.  If you need a solid mystery that's a page-turner and very readable, I not only recommend this book but anything by this author.  Detective Nap Dumas can't get over the death of his twin brother that happened 15 years ago.  He also can't get over his old girl friend who disappeared at the same time.  But his twin brother wasn't the only death among a group of friends.  Was there a connection?  Very enjoyable read.

CURRENTLY READING:  An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good, Helene Tursten.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  A butt-kickin' Harvey's Tales t-shirt.  

When you see this sign, you've arrived.  "Other Diversions" is a good way to describe the store's great variety of sidelines.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the right, a few steps into the store.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

These sidelines can be found in the front room near the checkout counter.  

This card-catalog is part of the check out counter and it offers some last-minute impulse buys, placed appropriately at child eye-level.  Well done, Harvey's.  

This pin-cushion doll, the bane of independent bookstores, is tortured on a daily basis.  

The store's namesake.  Harvey, your parents did a good job.  

I love sitting spaces like this, near the front check-out counter.  

Every indie should offer gift cards.  

After entering and walking through the front hallway, this is the view looking to the right into the cafe.  

A fireplace, a chandelier, and a couple of great places to sit and try a book.  Detailed readers may be able to spot the celebrity seated in the left chair.  Yes, that's my mom.  

These literary-themed scarves have sold well since the store's opening.  

Off to the left is Hazel's House, the entrance into the children's area.  Great doorway design.  

Partial view of the children's area.  

Harvey's has a variety of sidelines scattered throughout the store.  

The big wall Scrabble board is in the cafe.  Have a game while you sip your coffee.  

Chuck and Roxanne have done a good job of utilizing every bit of space.  This area is underneath the stairway leading to the 2nd floor.  

Exterior room at the top of the 2nd floor.  

The store is completely accessible with this elevator to the 2nd floor and a ramp at an outside entrance.  

The 2nd floor has several rooms of books making it a very fun floor for browsing.   This room has banned books.  

This 2nd floor room not only includes books but bookstore socks.  You'll find travel books in this room, among other genres.  

Every space utilized.  Back in the day, this was probably a closet.  

Browse into this room for non-fiction.  

My favorite place in the store.  A comfy reading nook on the 2nd floor.  Well-designed and will lit.  

This spacious room houses more non-fiction and is a great meeting place for many book clubs that come here.  

If you're looking for their popular candles, go up to the 2nd floor.

An overview of another room where you'll find the general fiction.  

Visual confirmation.  

I usually don't take pictures of bathroom interiors except when they look this nice.  

An overview of the ground floor looking from the fireplace toward the front entrance.  

These are the fine folks you'll enjoy meeting at Harvey's Tales.  From L-R; Candy, Clare, Roxanne, Chuck, and yours truly.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Hyde Brothers Books - Ft. Wayne, IN

Hyde Brothers Books, Ft. Wayne, IN
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I've known about this indie for awhile, have read a bit about it, and finally got a chance to visit and see it for myself.  You see, Hyde Brothers Books has a "reputation."  In this case, that reputation is all good and I can tell you after seeing for myself, it's well-deserved.  This is another solid used book store, as strong as any I've seen anywhere.  And owner Sam Hyde along with bookseller Kaitlyn were as nice and knowledgeable as any I've met along my journey.  These are the kind of "reputations" that all bookstores hope for!

This 2-level bookstore has been around for about 26 years, located in a busy retail corridor of Ft. Wayne.  I think it's a good location, surrounded by many other small independent businesses.  The main level has two large rooms with a little meandering involved, side nooks, and aisles all of which make it a fun place to explore.  The same can be said for the basement level.  The main level is packed with floor to ceiling books and thankfully they have several shelf ladders to reach the upper shelves.  The basement level is also shelved floor to ceiling but the ceiling isn't as high downstairs and ladders aren't needed.  However, if you're over about 6'5" watch your head.  Sam told me that he conservatively estimates the inventory at 200,000 (I think there are more).  I was impressed with the number of complete set editions that they displayed, a few of which you can see in the pictures below.  I would encourage collectors to check out the store's inventory.  You can also order these vintage editions through the store's on-line site.  The store offers cash or double that in store credit for books that customers bring in.  But, they won't take everything.  As Sam told me, out of 2000 books he might see per week, he might take 400-500.

Hyde Brothers is home to 2 bookstore cats, Scout and Sherlock, making this a destination for cat lovers as well.  The store is easily accessible for out-of-towners with free parking right on the street and right in front of the store.

If you didn't know about Hyde Brothers Books before, you certainly do now.  Check out this iconic used book store and when you do, make sure you have LOTS of time.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry.  I liked the premise of this story about a mysterious, seldom seen serpent in the Essex region of Victorian England.  The only thing is that the serpent never appeared in the story.  It was more of an "idea" of the serpent and its effect on the townspeople which allowed them to blame any troubles like missing people, misfortune, and illness on the possibility of a serpent.  Cora, an independent and recently widowed woman ventures to Essex in hopes of finding this serpent but is hampered by a local pastor who eventually falls for her even though he is married to a woman who is terminally ill (blame the "serpent").  This book was only mildly interesting.  I blame the serpent.  

CURRENTLY READING:  Don't Let Go, Harlan Coben.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  And The Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini.

A very busy display window.  

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

Just inside the front entrance you're going to find some GREAT bargains on these shelves.  

The store has lots of book aisles that look like this.  

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

Always ask your bookstore about gift certificates.  They have them here at Hyde Bros.  

Notice floor to ceiling bookshelves and thankfully, a ladder to help reach the top shelves.  

Take this ladder to the top shelf.  

You'll love seeing the bookstore cats.  This is either Scout or Sherlock.  

Shakespeare fans.  

Balzac fans.  

Robert Louis Stevenson fans.  Lots of complete volumes of works are available.  

Have a seat and take a book for a test drive.  

Another one of the ladders that will allow you to reach the high books.  

Proceed into another room for these genres.  

Your browsing here is never-ending.  

This store is all about the books, as you can see.  No frills here.  

Something for Catholic scholars.  

Stairway to the basement in the rear of the store. 

I love this artistic rendition of the store front.  

Floor to ceiling books but a much lower ceiling.  This is the long aisle you'll see if you use the back stairway to the basement.  

Yes, there really is an algebra and calculus section of books.  These sections are a bridge too far for me.  

Look for this section in the basement.  

There are two stairways linking the main floor and the basement.  This is the one near the front of the store, looking up from the basement.  

This sounds like an interesting collection.  

You're going to need this because there is no way you get out of this store with only one book.  

Zane Grey fans.  

Scout and Sherlock take a break from selling books.  

With Sam on the right, the fine owner at Hyde Brothers Books.  Thanks for a great visit.