Monday, July 29, 2019

The Book Store - Medina, OH

The Book Store, Medina, OH
(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

I absolutely love hearing stories about bookstore spaces and their histories, their evolutions from previous businesses.  The building that The Book Store occupies dates back to the 1800s and it seems there is a ghost that visits here as well as some of the other downtown businesses.  It may help that there are old underground tunnels connecting many of these businesses in the downtown square area.  Apparently, this ghost, Daniel, is an occasional visitor at the bookstore.  As owner Melissa M. told me there have been some unexplainable happenings that she can only attribute to Daniel.  The most compelling episode was when she came to work one morning and noticed a Shel Silverstein book that had been dislodged from the shelf and found on the floor two feet away, face up.  Melissa and her husband checked the surveillance tape.  Mysteriously, there is an unexplainable 10 second gap between the book on the shelf and its position on the floor!  How did Daniel do that?

The Book Store has been in business for 5 years, 3 in its current location.  Its original location was in Berea, OH.  As Melissa told me, they're currently transitioning their business model to make their books more affordable and getting some great help from The Book Loft in Columbus who uses a similar model.  Their inventory is an even split, 50/50, between books and sidelines.  The great thing about this is 90% of those sidelines are created by local artisans.  Their variety of sidelines was excellent.  Of their book inventory, their offerings by local authors and of local interest was especially good.  One of the strengths of the store is its number of items offered on all things Harry Potter.  Probably as good as I've seen anywhere.  This place could double as headquarters for Harry Potter fandom.

My only disappointment here was not with the bookstore but the local schools.  Part of the buy local theory is to bring a town and community together and understand the importance to the community of small businesses.  Your online purchases don't pay taxes in the community.  Seems to me, the local schools should be first in line to support this movement.  If small businesses disappear, populations decline, and then schools make cuts and/or close.  Come on local schools, get with it and partner with this terrific bookstore.

You're going to love seeing this store and meeting Melissa.  If you're a Harry Potter fan you'll be over the moon.  And if you're a ghost hunter, be on the watch for Daniel.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Not purchased but gifted, God Moves Me, Nicholette Tixier.  A local nurse and author who I had the pleasure of meeting on my visit and signed the book.  Thanks Melissa and thanks Nicholette.  

A beautiful store front.  

What are you waiting for?!

A great day to visit a bookstore, buy a book, and enjoy the weather and your book on an outdoor seat.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Beautiful view of the store looking to the right just inside the front entrance. 

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  The store has lots of Harry Potter themed items like the pillows on the top shelf.  

Yes, you'll need one of these.  

A portion of the books available of local and regional interest.  

For Harry Potter fans, this store is a must-see.  

Hey Medina, this is why you come to The Book Store.  

A cute little chair for a little reader.  

One of my favorite promotions, also seen in other independent bookstores.  

One of the "blind date" books.  Give it a try!

Great gift ideas.  

Wall of fiction highlighted nicely by locally crafted sidelines.  

Partial view of the children's section.  

A great seat for parent and child and a little reading. 

Another partial view of the children's section.  

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

Locally created jewelry.  

A variety to choose from.  

Literary-themed candles like this one.  

They even have a Harry Potter run.  

An example of the unique sidelines found at independent bookstores. 

Always helps to maintain perspective!

With Melissa, the fine owner at The Book Store.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Fireside Book Shop - Chagrin Falls, OH

Fireside Book Shop, Chagrin Falls, OH
(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

A funny thing happened on the way to the Fireside Book Shop.  I had planned to be here 10 months ago and had already contacted the store that I was on my way to visit.  Unfortunately, I had to take a detour via a Cleveland Clinic hospital so the "celebrity" could get some medical attention.  Thankfully, all was well and the 10-month delay was more than worth the wait to see this incredible indie in downtown Chagrin Falls.

I think bookstores like this need to be recognized for their longevity, their survival, their service to the community, and their success.  Fireside began as a women-owned bookstore in 1963, back in a time when some people might not have been supportive of this endeavor.  It is still women owned today by co-owners Jean B. and Lori M., in their 2nd year of ownership and in its current location since 1967.  Both have a history with the store prior to ownership and for Jean, it goes back over 20 years.  The original ownership offered only new books but now you'll find a strong inventory of new and used books in a 3-level space at a perfect downtown location that has very busy foot traffic, surrounded by many local businesses.  Additionally, you'll find a healthy dose of sidelines including greeting cards, jigsaw puzzles, journals of all kinds, and lots of book totes and bags.  As Valerie, one of the booksellers told me, they cram a lot of stuff into their three floors.  Despite that, I didn't feel it was uncomfortable for browsing in the least.  Customers who bring in their books receive a generous store credit in return.  I especially enjoyed hearing about the store's great partnerships with many of the local schools.  They also have an extensive children's section up on the 3rd floor including a room devoted strictly for pre-schoolers.  I think a room like this is a great idea for indies that have the space.

I hit the jackpot on my visit and met both Jean and Lori, along with Valerie.  These people are one of the many reasons I enjoy this journey so much.  They are absolutely the best to meet and visit with.  Good grief, is it any wonder this store enjoys a solid core of regulars?!  

Wonderful people, a Chagrin Falls tradition, easy parking, and dog-friendly (I should've brought the TIBS staff dog,  Getty T.).  If you're anywhere near Cleveland or passing through, take your own detour to this splendid bookstore that's been getting it right since 1963.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Gods Of Gotham, Lyndsay Faye.  Didn't finish.  I couldn't get into this one at all and struggled with the writing.  But if you like historical fiction about 1850 NYC, give it a try.  Just did not work for me.  

CURRENTLY READING:  The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Educating Esmé: Diary Of A Teacher's First Year, Esmé Raji Codell.   Not purchased but gifted, a Fireside Book Shop tote bag.  Thanks Jean.   

One of the front window displays.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

Looking to the left from the front entrance.  A wonderful display of staff selections.  

Just a few of the jigsaw puzzles offered inside the front entrance.  You'll find more throughout the store.  

New arrival display to the right after entering the store.  

Follow this long book aisle and then enter another room of books in the back of the store.  

A beautiful spiral staircase inaccessible to human traffic but a great place to display books of current interest.  

A variety of boxed greeting cards.  

 Just a few of the greeting cards available.  

18 feet long, 6 feet tall, and 32,000 pieces.  Here you go puzzle experts!

This is the back room of books on the main floor.  Diligent readers may recognize the celebrity on the left.  Yes, that's my mom.  

If you're on a budget, find these bins in the back room.  

Just a few of the books available of local and regional interest.  

The stairway up from the first floor, lined with a huge selection of book tote bags.  

Overview of a beautiful store looking down from the stairway and toward the front entrance.  

Overview of the room on the second floor, the fireside room.  

Looking across the room on the 3rd floor, children's section.  

Looking into the Fireside Room on the 2nd floor from the children's section on the 3rd floor.  

Staff picks display in the children's section, including middle grade and YA books.  

This is the view looking into the pre-school room.  

This room includes school reading books, college guides, reference, and foreign language instruction.  

This is the view from the 3rd floor looking toward the Fireside Room and then down on the main floor to the checkout counter where you'll put your book purchases in your purchased tote bag.  

If you're a regular and haven't read this book yet, you can pick it up here at Fireside Book Shop.  

With Jean on the left and Lori in the middle, the two fine co-owners at Fireside Book Shop.  Thanks for a great visit.