Thursday, August 23, 2018

Fireside Books - Palmer, AK

Fireside Books, Palmer, AK
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I find it utterly amazing when I visit a bookstore that has been around for many years when it is located in a small town and a sparsely populated area.  But it's one thing to be a bookstore in a town of 5000 in Minnesota or Nebraska and entirely another to be in a town of 5000 in a remote region of Alaska.  Yet here it is, Palmer, AK and Fireside Books, residing together comfortably and successfully since 2001.  Nobody anywhere else has to endure harsh weather, difficult winters with limited daylight, and a light population like Fireside Books has.  But this place just keeps on ticking, a direct result of the work established by previous owners, David and Melissa, and current owner MaryAnn C., and most of all the fine people of Palmer and the surrounding area.  These folks understand (because they HAVE to), buy local, shop local.  Way to go, Palmer.

MaryAnn has been the owner here for about 6 months but has been with the store for much longer.  Fireside Books may be unknown to many but it has received some national attention.  Bob Eckstein, who wrote Footnotes From The World's Greatest Bookstores, featured this as one of his recognized bookstores.  In other words, tourist/bookstore people have a definite reason to visit here.  As it is, tourists have found this place, especially in the summers.  That complements the already strong local customers that propel it forward year round, especially during those dark winter months.

The store offers a fine assortment of new and used books, all shelved together.  Customers receive store credit for the good used books they bring in.  Fireside also offers a customer incentive program for their loyal regulars.  They have some sidelines here but most are literary or locally related.  Greeting cards, coffee, socks, journals, and more can all be found here.

One of my favorite things here is the partnership they have with some of the schools.  They are able to do book fairs but instead of going to the schools, the schools bring everyone to the store.  A great field trip that would be the envy of many other bookstores.

MaryAnn has a great personality for a bookstore and she was wonderful to talk to and trade lots of book ideas.  Meeting her, along with staffers Ellis and Elias are always highlights for me.  

If you're a local and you DON'T know about this place, wake up and smell the coffee.  Check out a bookstore that most of your friends have been going to since 2001.  You'll have a great time.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Woman In Cabin 10, Ruth Ware.    

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey.  

Very attractive front display window.  

If you ride your bike to Fireside Books, you have a great place to lock it up.  Very nice.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  

Venturing to the right after you enter, you'll find the display of new arrivals.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

For those of you in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin who claim your region as the tundra?  Please.  Not even close.  

A better look at the display of new arrivals.  

Display of popular releases.  

Display of books of regional interests.  The store has lots in this genre.  

A portion of the children's section.  

Consider these last chance bargains at the check out counter.  

A battle of the books contest for young readers. 

Just about my favorite picture in any bookstore.

If you're a tourist, make sure you pick up your maps and tour guides.  

Almost every indie I've visited the last few months has a display promoting The Great American Read.  

A great genre for any indie but especially relevant in Alaska.  

People in Palmer get it.  Shop local, buy local, for all small businesses.  

For readers who may not know.  See this book?  That's what I did before I began this journey.  

An incredible work of art by a local customer, now hanging in the store.  

With MaryAnn, the fine owner at Fireside Books.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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