Sunday, February 24, 2019

Dotters Books - Eau Claire, WI

Dotters Books, Eau Claire, WI
(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

What can one do to break the winter doldrums?  If you're in or near Eau Claire, WI, this is your answer.  And even if there's too much snow to navigate, Dotters Books is poised perfectly as a true neighborhood bookstore (shouldn't this neighborhood location raise nearby home values?!).  This store is perfect for foot traffic from the neighborhood and I would think this would be a great escape for kids living nearby who are at home for a snow day.  Dotters also continues to be part of a trend.  The trend of new indies, making a resurgence all across the country.  This baby is only about six months old and already off to a great start, seeing numerous regular customers, hosting its own book clubs, and offering a weekly children's story time.  All signs that point to a successful present and future.

This small, one-level store offers a very well-curated inventory of new books and a few sidelines.  All of the books are displayed covers out, something that few indies are able to do but I sure do enjoy it when I visit one that is able to do this.  Dotters emphasizes offering books written by women and people of color, something I find equally impressive in this area.  They also offer titles by local authors Nickolas Butler, Michael Perry, and B. J. Hollars, all of whom I can heartily recommend.  Even though the store is only a few months old, its business roots were planted earlier as a pop-up store.  Dotters was already laying the ground work for its brick and mortar by appearing in different businesses and neighborhoods, generating a customer base.  

I would be very surprised if any readers would know the origins of the store's name, Dotters.  My guess was it had to do with another title for a female, daughter, but this was only partially correct.  Dotters is the Swedish word for daughters, giving it a unique name among the independent bookstore community.

I had a great time meeting Margaret L., the co-owner of the store along with Jill.  As with most owners I meet, she has a true passion for her store and what has become her dream job.

Eau Claire has been blessed with this terrific new bookstore and its owners.  Regular customers, I encourage you on your next visit to bring someone who hasn't been here yet.  They'll enjoy seeing  a very comfortable store that's sure to keep them coming back.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.  

JUST FINISHED:  Becoming, Michelle Obama.  Even before reading this book most people understood Michelle's education background and early career.  After reading this, you'll have a better understanding of her growth through various schools, Chicago neighborhoods, and meeting her future husband, the president of the United States.  This woman is absolutely brilliant as well as genuinely nice and this book is a breath of fresh air.  I thoroughly enjoyed this.  Highly recommended.  

CURRENTLY READING:  A Meal In Winter, Hubert Mingarelli.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Sightings, B. J. Hollars.  

There was a light snow on the day of my visit.  This is Wisconsin, this IS a light snow.  

Another exterior view.  This front patio has some great possibilities during the summer season.  

Wonderfully creative art work on the front window displays.  

View looking into the store and to the left.  Notice all books on the tables and shelves are displayed with the cover out.  I love this but also understand that it is not practical to do in many bookstores.  

View looking to the right from the front entrance and a few of the sidelines available.  

A wonderful place to sit in the front of the store and sample a book.  Lots of natural light and just the place to be on a winter day.  

Wall display of current and popular fiction.  

Nickolas Butler is a popular author from Eau Claire and the store offers his books as well as other local authors.  I've read this one and thoroughly enjoyed it.  If you look for this book, don't be confused by the cover.  The hardback has a different cover than this paperback edition.  

An assortment of journals and greeting cards.  

The offerings here are outstanding.  

I get to hear lots of great background music in all the bookstores I visit.  Here at Dotters, they roll old-school style with vinyl on a classroom player.  This is so indie!

Lots of "souper" cooking books.

Looking into the children's section and its own little room in the back of the store.  

This is a really cool nook in the children's room.

Overview of a beautiful store.  

Looking from the children's room toward the front entrance.  

Score a cup of coffee as you browse the store.

Consider some Dotters swag to go with your book.  

Get a deal on a 2019 calendar.  

View outside the front entrance.

With Margaret, the fine co-owner at Dotters Books.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Read A Book Nook - Marshalltown, IA

Read A Book Nook, Marshalltown, IA
(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

After so many bookstore visits, I didn't think my admiration for bookstore owners could get any higher but that's exactly what happened for me after meeting Wendy S., the owner of Read A Book Nook.  Wendy is part of that connected fabric of owners throughout the country who do such a great job.  She's a one person staff (with one person of occasional volunteer help) that brings an enthusiasm, growing knowledge, and passion for books and her store.  The store's birth one year ago and subsequent success to date falls squarely on her shoulders even though she's had great support from family and friends.  But make no mistake, Wendy is the reason for this store's successful start.  Congratulations to her and Marshalltown.

As for bookstores, this is about the only option for miles around.  The business growth here is definitely community driven by a town that has enthusiastically welcomed this new bookstore.  Many of the regular customers also come from several nearby smaller towns who prefer visiting here rather than larger cities.  The store has a wonderful inventory of 10,000 books which are mostly used with a few new.  Many of these books are donated and customers can get store credit for the books they bring in.  And if they donate over 30 books, they can receive a lifetime benefit of 5% off every purchase, just one of the several custom perks.  The one-level store shares business space with Griego's Thrift & Collectibles and Shirley's Crochet & More in the 3rd Ave Buzzar.  This is a great arrangement to share rent and utilities.  The bookstore is now in its second location very near downtown and much more visible then its original space.  Wendy's store began with 60 books and 3 bookshelves, a story other indie owners may be able to identify with.  From these humble beginnings, Marshalltown has added a wonderful establishment to its retail footprint.

As with many new bookstores, the word is still getting out about Read A Book Nook.  If you're in Marshalltown, anywhere nearby, or just passing through, here you go.  Help spread the word to shop local, buy local, and take pride in knowing that you have a terrific owner and her business in your community.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya.  Some have called this one of the best-known works in contemporary Chicano fiction.  Story of a boy growing up in New Mexico after WWII and his family's challenges with some bad characters.  Combines mysticism with Native American beliefs and Catholicism.  Themes include murder, revenge, redemption, witchcraft, and school bullies.  This book is banned in some school districts.  I enjoyed this one.  Recommended.  

CURRENTLY READING:  Becoming, Michelle Obama.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Mississippi Blood, Greg Iles.

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the right from the front entrance.  

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  Behind this display you'll find the two other businesses that make up the 3rd Ave Buzzarr.  Griegos's Thrift & Collectibles and Shirley's Crochet & More.  

Display of popular fiction.  

If you're a fan of Dungeons & Dragons, you definitely need to check out this display case at the check-out counter.  

If you're a Danielle Steel fan in Marshalltown and haven't been here yet, you're missing out.  

If you have an interest in collectible editions, always ask about what they have.  

Just like every other bookstore!

View looking into the middle room.  More fiction and children's.

A portion of the children's section and a little table for little readers.  

Partial view of the children's section.  

An antique book display from Lang Books.  

These books are shelved in the passageway that leads to the third room, which is actually a vault from when this was a bank. 

View looking into the third room, the "vault."  Lots of non-fiction in this room.  Readers might recognize Indie Bob Spot staffer, Michelle T.  

View looking toward the front entrance from the middle room.  

The store has a large storage area in the back of the building.  This is not yet open to the public but might be available at some point in the future. 

View looking into the partner businesses' space from the bookstore.  

For every indie owner enduring this brutal winter season all across the country, these are essential.  Here at Read A Book Nook, the bag of salt and shovel are in a place of honor by the front door!

With Wendy, the fine owner at Read A Book Nook.  Thanks for a great visit.