Sunday, July 29, 2018

Poor Richard's Books & Gifts - Colorado Springs, CO

Poor Richard's Books & Cafe, Colorado Springs, CO
(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

When I entered this bookstore, I was very apprehensive about how successful my visit would be.  Hemp lotions?  Wind chimes?  Incense and bath bombs?  Certainly, all important sidelines but what about the books?  There were some scattered displays in the front of the store but they were outnumbered by the sidelines.  Patience dear readers, patience.  If you pop your head in here, take a brief glance around and leave, you're making a big mistake.  After you enter, continue on through the store and you'll notice a change.  You'll soon be in the part of the store that is thoroughly dominated by an overwhelming inventory of books.  Good luck getting out of this store any time soon.

Poor Richard's Books & Gifts is a one-level indie that offers new and used books and a plethora of incredible sidelines.  It is under the umbrella of businesses that include Rico's Cafe, Little Richard's Toys, and a restaurant.  This store has been here since 1975 and if you want to know how they survived the answer is with their co-owner Richard S. and these businesses.  Since their opening in 1975, other indies have either evolved or died.  Richard chose evolution as evidenced by these wonderful additions to the bookstore business.  Kind of the ultimate of sidelines.  Thanks to this and Richard's well-respected and high profile in the community, we have a winner.

Most of the new books are in the front of the store and the used books are in the back half.  Additionally, they carry a decent inventory of collectable and vintage editions.  Customers can bring books in for trade and receive store credit for used book purchases.  The sidelines offered are as good and varied as I've seen anywhere.  If you come here with a non-reader they'll have plenty of things to browse.  In addition to the items mentioned earlier, you'll find lots of socks, lots of greeting cards and boxed sets, jewelry made and created locally, and lots of accessory times for anyone but mostly I think women will find lots to like here (apologies for using the word LOTS a lot.  I'm not a professional writer!).  

I didn't get to meet co-owners Richard and Patricia, but Kelly, the used book buyer, and Laszlo, marketing and social media, were terrific.  What great bookstore people (thanks for the coffees, Kelly)!

The store enjoys a huge tourist customer base, many who visit annually when they return to this region.  You can become part of that customer base when you visit this award-winning bookstore in Colorado Springs.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  

JUST FINISHED:  Forsaken, Ross Howell, Jr.  This work weaves fact and fiction together based on the historical episode of the murder of a white woman by an uneducated African-American girl, only 16 years old.  The story takes place in Hampton, VA in 1912 and is covered in the local paper by a white, 18 year old journalist.  He questions the ultimate execution of Virginia Christian and the legality of her conviction and execution.  Lots of examples of racial tensions of the time.  I liked the premise of the story but the 2nd half of the book really wandered.  

CURRENLTY READING:  The Book Of Harlan, Bernice L. McFadden.     

All of Poor Richard's businesses can be entered from the outside or accessed from the inside where they are all connected.  

A wonderful patio seating area outside of the bookstore.  

Let the shopping begin!  Discerning readers may recognize the celebrity searching for a bargain.  Yes, that's my mom.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Grab a shopping basket for everything you'll be buying.  

Colorado themed sidelines.  

Look for some of the new books on displays like this one near the front of the store.  

Popular and current releases.  

Some very intriguing oils and lotions.  

All kinds of wind chimes imaginable.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

A wide variety of reading glasses to choose from.  

You can find the most unique items in independent bookstores...

...surely you know someone who could use a creative coozy?

And of course they have LOTS of unique socks.  

Once you get halfway through the store, it starts looking like this!

These are just a few of the collectable and vintage works available.  

Women shoppers will really enjoy the variety of items available.  

Your books are wanted here, especially these.

Lots of children's books.  

A portion of the children's area and a nice place to sit and page through a book.  

One of the many book nooks, all with great places to sit.  

Not many indies have these.  

A portion of the cafe seating area, looking in from the bookstore.  

They have a great cafe here.  

Looking into the toy store from the cafe.  Kids will love this place.    

After proceeding through the toy store, you can get to the restaurant.  

With Kelly on the left and Laszlo in the center, two of the fine folks you'll meet at Poor Richard's Books & Gifts.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Thursday, July 26, 2018

City Stacks Books & Coffee - Denver, CO

City Stacks Books & Coffee, Denver, CO
(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

Denver has a great bookstore scene and it's so good I had to give it a third tour.  And even though this is my third tour here I'm still discovering terrific indies that I can't believe I missed on previous trips.  That's the case for City Stacks Books & Coffee, a very attractive one-level store located in downtown Denver.  This is the perfect location to take advantage of the urban living trend and its energy as well as a downtown area that appeals to tourists.  And if you're a baseball fan, you're only a couple of blocks from Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies.

City Stacks has been in business for just under 4 years, offering all new books and a good assortment of sidelines.  There is a beautiful cafe in the store which, along with the sidelines, is a critical part of the business.  You'll see some wonderful sidelines here including greeting cards, journals, t-shirts, puzzles, socks (hey indie owners, these sell well everywhere I've been), and other literary themed items.  Things are going pretty well here, but they could always be better.  If you're in Denver and haven't been here yet you should definitely check it out.  If you're one of City Stack's regular customers, bring a friend or relative sometime who's never been here.

The store's interior is beautifully arranged with books on the right, cafe on the left, and sidelines throughout.  The lighting and decor all around are neat and attractive making the store's space very comfortable.  

Two of the people who get to work in this warm space are Emily S., the store manager, and Soledad, one of the staffers.  People like these two really help to make my visits enjoyable as well as informative.  Both were able to tell me much about the store and its business.  I'm always grateful to meet people like this and hear their perspectives. 

The thing I know about City Stacks is that not everyone in Denver has discovered it yet.  What gives?  Check this place out and grab a coffee, browse some books, and meet some wonderful people.  You'll have a great bookstore experience that will guarantee a return visit.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Forsaken, Ross Howell, Jr.

This is just a portion of the great window display space the store has.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  On the other side of the bookshelves is a moderate seating space for the cafe.  

Recent releases and popular books displayed just inside the store.  

Timely display just inside the entrance.  

Literary themed shirts for children and adults, a good variety.  

Display of a few of the top books from 2017.  

Some of the literary themed t-shirts for adults.  

Kids will love these.  

A partial view of the children's section.  

An overview of the store looking from the children's section back toward the cafe.  

Quirky socks and other literary themed items.  

The store offers some great sidelines including this assortment of journals.  

A few of the greeting cards offered.  

A variety of mugs and assorted boxed set greeting cards.  

I love these artist portraits in the back of the store.  Can you name all three?  

This is where you'll order your coffee.  

Lots of gift ideas.  

A partial view of the cafe seating area.  Perceptive readers may recognize the celebrity in the left foreground.  Yes, that's my mom.  

I always enjoy window seats in a bookstore cafe.  

This is the left side of the store with the seating area and the cafe.  

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

With Soledad on the left and Emily in the center, two of the fine people you'll meet at City Stacks.  Thanks for a great visit.