Thursday, May 31, 2018

Wheatberry Books - Chillicothe, OH

Wheatberry Books, Chillicothe, OH
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Chillicothe gets it.  Friends, relatives, and citizens are all on board with this wonderful new bookstore.  The store is approaching its 6 month anniversary, another newbie, and I got the feeling from Chelsea B., the owner, that things are going so well she's almost overwhelmed.  Well, get used to it Chelsea.  This is a cute-as-a-button new bookstore that has a bright future.  The store is off to a great start and I'm fortunate to see it in its infancy and hopefully I'll get to see it again down the line when it grows up.

Bookstore owners will nod agreeingly when they hear Chelsea's story about starting the business.  She detailed what every relative and friend did to make this happen.  She also discovered what many already know, the network of camraderie, brotherhood, and sisterhood among booksellers.  If you open a bookstore, these people are not only a great resource but willingly offer assistance for people like Chelsea.  "It takes a village" applies to the birthing and raising of a bookstore.

This is a charming, one-level store that offers all new books and a few used books.  I was pleasantly surprised by their great book inventory in the smallish space.  Chelsea describes it as kind of a hallway, but it works.  They have a wonderful children's section in its own room in the back of the store, and are working on establishing a regular story time.  There are few sidelines but they do have some great Wheatberry Books swag including t-shirts, hoodies, and coffee mugs, all produced locally.  Very indie.  I think this store probably had strong community ties before they even opened their doors last December 1st.  If they didn't, they're certainly established now in their short existence.  The store is tight with the local children's museum, the library, and some of the local schools.  These are all things that help bookstores sustain, grow, and promote, something that needs to happen in every town with a bookstore.  

Chelsea has a handful of terrific staffers, including Vanessa who I met on my visit.  They were so fun to meet and talk to.  But my favorite part of this store is its name.  Wheatberry is named for the simple design that was put on apple pies.  By her grandma.  What a great tribute and a great remembrance.  Chelsea gets it and so does Chillicothe.  Embrace this store, Chillicothe, and never let it go.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.  

CURRENTLY READING:  Nobody's Fool, Richard Russo.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  I Am I Am I Am, Maggie O'Farrell.  The Heavenly Table, Donald Ray Pollock.  And one hip Wheatberry t-shirt.

Exterior view.  

Attractive display window with the store insignia.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  Discerning readers may recognize the celebrity charging through the store.  Yes, that's my mom.  

A great place to sit and sample a book.  

Display of store favorites.  

Contrary to internet opinion, I can find bargains in every indie I visit.  

My favorite picture in every bookstore.  

There is a great Wheatberry sign at the top of these shelves but I couldn't get it all in the picture.  You'll have to visit the store and see it for yourself!

Hey Outlander fans, here you go.  

Nicely organized Indie favorites display.  

Another nicely organized and timely display.  

Very good inventory of t-shirts, hoodies, and mugs.  

The store is continually working on adding events.  

View looking into the children's section.  

Another partial view of the children's room and a great place for kids to look at some books.  

You can find these shelves of used books at bargain prices in the back of the store.  

Looking from the back of the store toward the front entrance.  Chelsea is on the left and Vanessa on the right.  

Always consider checking out some of the books of local and regional interest.  

When you exit the store, turn left, walk 10 steps, and enjoy a coffee while reading one of the books you bought at Wheatberry at Paper City Coffee, another great independent local business.  

With Chelsea on the left and Vanessa on the right, two of the fine people you'll meet at Wheatberry Books.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Paragraphs Bookstore - Mt. Vernon, OH

Paragraphs Bookstore, Mt. Vernon, OH
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Readers, what do you think teachers do when they leave the profession?  Well, not everyone is able to go on a journey visiting bookstores so the next best thing might just be managing a bookstore.  This is the good fortune they enjoy in Mt. Vernon, OH at Paragraphs Bookstore with store manager Lois H.  Paragraphs is blessed with outstanding ownership which enables Lois to have the best toy any retired English teacher could hope for, an independent bookstore.

Mt. Vernon, OH is a town of approximately 16,000 and this store is a brilliant gem for the business district in the heart of downtown.  I'm always amazed to find such a successful and long-running bookstore (21 years) in a town this size when much larger towns have nothing (I guess I should stop being amazed.  It's actually more amazing when smaller towns DON'T have a bookstore).  This is a tribute to all those regular customers in the Mt. Vernon area and, increasingly, more and more out-of-towners.  I think the store's success is an acknowledgement of Lois and her talents along with people like Maxwell, one of the store's fine booksellers.  It's no wonder that the store has a great partnership with local schools with Lois's background in education.  The store also actively pursues author events, and offers a children's story time, and a monthly bookclub just to name a few.  Creative writing workshops are also available to middle and high schoolers.  What a great way to bring kids into their local bookstore.  Kudos Paragraphs!

In addition to a well-curated store of all new books, Paragraphs offers a healthy variety of sidelines which are a critical part of the business.  Items like locally made soaps, scarves, greeting cards, and lots of options for kids.  I thought the children's section was especially good.  The one-level space is arranged in a way that allows room for browsing even though it is packed with inventory.  There is great parking for free just about anywhere around the store's corner location.

Best of all was the time I enjoyed meeting and talking to Lois and Maxwell.  I can guarantee that this experience can't be duplicated online but if you TRULY need an online experience I have good news for you.  You can go online to Paragraph Books and order a book there.  Readers, I keep telling you these bookstores can do just about anything.  If you're anywhere near Mt. Vernon, OH (you know, within 500 miles or so!), this place is a must-see.  You'll have a great time in one of our country's finest bookstores and with the terrific people who work there.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Nobody's Fool, Richard Russo.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  If We Were Villains, M. L. Rio.  

This is what the building looks like around the corner from its Main St. entrance.  Very attractive.  

Another view of the side of the building and an additional entrance.  

Impressive recognition but no surprise to me.  

A very nice front window display and design highlighted by flowers and a table and two chairs where you can try a book and keep an eye on things.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the right from the front entrance.  

The store has a variety of wonderful sidelines, something for everyone.  

It's not too late to get the grad a nice gift and they have lots of options on this timely display.  

You'll find lots of books of local interest throughout the store and this table displays a few of those.  

I can just see all the Mt. Vernon dads rocking one of these Paragraph hats!

Nice display of staff picks near the front of the store.  

Find all the new releases on this display.  

The store offers lots of greeting cards, these are just a few.  

Find this cart for some bargains.  

Locally made soaps and I love some of these scent names!

A great sitting area right in the middle of the store.  Conscientious readers may recognize the celebrity seated here.  Yes, that's my mom.  

For the Diana Gabaldon Outlander fans, you're covered.  

A portion of the children's section.  

Another partial view of the children's section.

A great place in the children's section for 4 kids to have a hot card game.  Or, maybe look at a book or two.  

Consider a cup of coffee while you browse for books.  

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

One of the signs from a previous ownership.  

A great place to sit and sample a book.  

Some great scarves near the front of the store.  

Mt. Vernon is not too far from Columbus, home of the Buckeyes.  If you know a Buckeye fan, you'll have lots of gift ideas.  

I hope every indie offers gift cards.  

With Lois on the left and Maxwell on the right, two of the fine people you'll meet at Paragraphs.  Thanks for a great visit.