Thursday, June 27, 2019

Prologue Bookshop - Columbus, OH

Prologue Bookshop, Columbus, OH
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Readers, join me in welcoming this brand spanking-new cute little button of an independent bookstore, Prologue Bookshop.  I think I've been following this baby since before it was a twinkle in its owner's eye.  My only regret is that it's only six months old and I'm not seeing it at its full maturity.  Once Dan B., the owner, adds some of those characteristic bookstore touches including indoor artistic wall murals and outdoor signage, you're going to see this store come into full bloom.  And my guess is that will be just the beginning of great things for this fine indie.

I don't know how this store could have a better location.  It is on the very busy High St., a vibrant retail area with lots of businesses.  Above the bookstore are condos and there are lots of urban living options up and down this street.  It is also only a mile away from the Ohio State University campus.  A location with lots of ready-made customers, a position many other indies would love.  This density of population and businesses has allowed Prologue to enjoy mostly walk-in traffic, more than 80% of all customers.  But ironically, as Dan told me, the majority of the customers here are tourists, over 50%.  Dan has prepared well for his ownership and is doing all those things that launch a successful business.  As he told me, he dived right in by starting an ambitious events schedule.  They're able to clear space in the store and host right on-site.  They already host three store book clubs and just started a trivia night, partnering with the bar next door.  In addition to a very well-curated inventory with all new books, Prologue also has a good variety of sidelines including locally created greeting cards, puzzles, Harry Potter socks,  and board games to name a few.  He also hopes he can increase his sidelines created locally, those kinds of items that give every indie its uniqueness.

I had a terrific time meeting Dan and Daniel, one of the booksellers (If Dan hires only variations of his name, e.g. Daniel, Danielle, Danny, can we rename it the Dan Bookstore?  I digress).  These guys are just like the people I meet all along my journey, darn nice people.

The word is still getting out about this newbie and I hope this helps push it out there further.  If you live on High St. in Columbus there is no reason for you NOT to visit this place.  Pay a visit to this attractive bookstore and enjoy your new neighbor in the community.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Parnassus On Wheels, Christopher Morley.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Sadness Is A White Bird, Moriel Rothman-Zecher.

Sidewalk signs are a great way to communicate to customers and also entice them to enter!

On the beautiful day of my visit, this door was wide open.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the right after entering you'll see a long wall of fiction.  

Have a seat and sample a book.  

Looking to the left after entering.  Behind that shelf is the check-out counter.  

Display of new releases.  How many do you recognize?  

I always love to see the staff recommendation displays.  

I also enjoy seeing what the book clubs are reading.  

Lots of inspirational books about important women.  

Everyone who lives on High St. should be in this customer incentive program!

A few of the items of local interest.  

Display with staff picks highlighted by shelf talkers, those 3x5 tabs hanging from the shelves telling you about specific recommendations.  

Games and puzzles?  Yes please!

Your Harry Potter fandom is not complete unless you have the socks.  All of them.  

Many indies carry locally crafted greeting cards, truly one of a kind.  I love seeing these.  

Partial view of the children's section.  

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

I think this shirt would pair nicely with the Harry Potter socks.  

One of my favorite things to witness at any bookstore.  The UPS guy bringing in the new books.  

You'll need this tote for your books, your Harry Potter socks, and your Prologue t-shirt.  

With Dan on the left, the fine owner at Prologue Bookshop.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Jay & Mary's Book Center - Troy, OH

Jay & Mary's Book Center, Troy, OH
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How hip is this place?  It's so hip that I hear "Down By The Lazy River" by the Osmond Brothers playing on the sound system.  It's a little hard to browse when I'm bopping to the beat, but I'll deal with it.  Just another example of a great bookstore experience that can never be duplicated online.  

As the name of the store suggests, this really is a book center.  This is an expansive, one-level beautiful space.  It looks like new even though they've been in this location for just under 20 years.  The atmosphere and vibe here are outstanding.  What's equally impressive is that this bookstore is making a go of it in a community of approximately 25,000.  Readers, you know from some of my other visits how fantastic I think that is in a community this size when many towns twice this size have nothing.  Well done Jay and Mary.

This award-winning store offers a great selection of all new books and a variety of sidelines including calendars, journals, and greeting cards.  As co-owner Jay V. told me, the sidelines do pretty well and are an important part of the business.  There is a cut-out inside the store to Winan's Chocolates & Coffees, a beneficial arrangement for both businesses.  The store is conveniently located just off I75 which makes it an easy destination for travelers.  This makes a nice complement to the loyal regulars in their customer base.  

As this really is a book center, there also really are a Jay and Mary.  They are the husband/wife co-owners of this splendid indie.  I didn't get to meet Mary, but I'm so glad Jay was in and I got to meet him.  He, along with Susan, one of the booksellers, could not have been nicer.

Jay told me things are going ok here but I'm worried some of the people in Troy have forgotten about this place or are taking it for granted.  Are you kidding me?  Hey Troy, this place kicks a** so you have to shop local and buy local to keep it.  Buying from the internet won't support all your community organizations like a local small business does.  Make this indie a regular stop in your shopping routine.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  A Woman Of No Importance, Sonia Purnell.  Incredible true story of the American woman, Virginia Hall, who worked undercover for the British in France during WWII.  Her reluctance for recognition and acknowledgment has kept this story buried for decades but needs to come to light for the unbelievable difference one woman made during WWII.  She was constantly battling obstacles because of her gender but she had a determination to serve in the field as a leader of people that was undeniable.  If you're a history buff of WWII and don't know this story, this is a must read.  Recommended.  

CURRENTLY READING:  Parnassus On Wheels, Christopher Morley.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Given Day, Dennis Lehane.

The front doors are right under the clock.  After you buy your books, come back outside and have a seat on one of the benches and start your reading.  

The store has lots of window display space.  

If you're in Troy, here's your chance.  

Beautiful view looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the right from the front entrance.  

Nice display of popular books just as you step inside.  

Not many indies have a children's display in the front of the store.  This will grab the kids' attention.  

Bestsellers display right up front.  

Find out what the store booksellers and staff like.  

Even if you aren't a reader, you probably have a friend who is.  These are great gift ideas offered at most bookstores.  

Nice section of audio books.  

See if your favorite author has a new book coming-out.  

These are only a few of the variety of planners available.  

Lots of new fiction.  

An excellent variety of magazines.  

If you go directly to the left after entering the store, you'll come to this passage into Winan's Chocolates & Coffees.  

View looking into Winan's from the bookstore.  

Partial view of the children's section.  

Unique offering of Harry Potter books in a special case.  

A few of the greeting cards available.  

Some nice tote bags to help you with all the books you'll get.  

It's no surprise that this is a recognized award-winning store.   Way to go Jay & Mary!

A very well-stocked cooking section.  

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

Need the cliff notes?  Here you go!

A good variety of journals.  

With Jay on the right, the fine co-owner at Jay & Mary's Book Center.  Thanks for a great visit.