Monday, February 17, 2020

Wiseblood Booksellers, etc - Kansas City, MO

Wise Blood Booksellers etc, Kansas City, MO

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Ok readers, let's test your TV show trivia knowledge.  Quick, name the spin-off to the TV show "All In The Family?"  How about "The Andy Griffin Show?"  "The Mary Tyler Moore Show?"  Easy, right?  (answers at end)  Now, can you name the spin-off for Mills Record Company in Kansas City?  If you said Wiseblood Booksellers etc you can take a bow and probably congratulate yourself on being a regular customer.  Co-owners Judy M. and Dylan P. were (and still are) involved with both stores that are separate businesses.  They saw a need in this vibrant Westport neighborhood for an independent bookstore and decided to fill the void.  As far as I can tell, it was an excellent decision in an area that is thick with lots of retail that was only missing one thing.  A bookstore.  And now that decision is looking even better as a high rise apartment complex is being built nearby.

I've never seen an ugly baby and I've never seen an ugly new bookstore.  This baby is just two months old and the interior is absolutely beautiful.  I can tell a lot of time and planning went into it.  The lighting, logo design, painting, shelves, genre signs are all outstanding and since my pictures won't do it justice you'll have to visit and see for yourself.  The store offers new and used books and everything is shelved together.  For the customers who bring books in they'll receive store credit or cash.  In its short existence, they've already held well-attended author events and offer a couple of book clubs.  They also display locally created art work and will rotate this exhibit featuring different artists.  This is so indie and I love it!  In addition to the books, Wiseblood offers some unique sidelines like jigsaw puzzles, journals, "out-of-print" book t-shirts, and mugs and totes to name a few.

You would think with its great location that the lease might be a challenge, but I'm happy to say that it's reasonable.  And in the store's short two months, I'm also happy to report that Dylan told me, so far so good.

The future looks bright and their decisions have been spot-on.  Heck, one of their best decisions was their soft opening on Black Friday, launching just in time for the holiday season.  Nicely done Judy and Dylan.

If you're in the Westport neighborhood, consider this your notice.  Stop in to Wiseblood Booksellers, get comfy on one of the couches, and sample a few books in its warm atmosphere.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.  

(TRIVIA ANSWERS: "The Jeffersons" was one of many spin-offs of "All In The Family."  "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." was a spin-off of "The Andy Griffin Show."  "Rhoda" was the first of several "Mary Tyler Moore" spin-offs.) 

JUST FINISHED:  A Bookshop In Berlin, Fran├žoise Frenkel.  

CURRENTLY READING:  The Lager Queen Of Minnesota, J. Ryan Stradal.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Monk Of Mocha, Dan Eggers.  Diary Of A Madman And Other Stories, Nikolai Gogol.

An attractive front window display.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

This is a double display.  This view is the display facing into the store but you can also see it as a display through the front window.  

This store and others offer the "out-of-print" book t-shirts.  Here at Wiseblood you can find "out-of-print" stocking caps.  Ideal for booksellers in the midwest and the east.  

Table display of assorted sidelines.  

Jigsaw puzzles sell well at many indies.  

A great place to sit near the front entrance and sample a few books.  

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

A few of the new used books.  

I love these bookends.  

A nice sitting space for your group.  

Not many bookstores have a comment box but they they do here at Wiseblood.  I like this idea.  

Pair a book with a vinyl record album.  
Get that book and album and score a tote.  A great incentive!  

Wonderful display of new and used books.  

Find an "out-of-print" t-shirt to go with the "out-of-print" stocking cap.  

A portion of the children's items available.  

A long wall of books displayed with attractive signage and shelving.  

Follow the leader and sample a book.  

Always consider this.  

Great assortment of journals and notebooks.  

An impressive logo offset by symmetrical lamp lighting.  

The store plans to feature artwork by local artists on a rotating basis.  

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

Get a Mills Record t-shirt, the origins of Wiseblood.  

With Dylan on the right, the fine co-owner at Wiseblood Booksellers, etc.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Yellow Dog Bookshop - Columbia, MO

The Yellow Dog Bookshop, Columbia, MO
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The devotion of bookstore owners to their pets are unequaled to none.  I've met cats and dogs in many stores across the country and I never grow tired of it.  I've also been to indies where the owners are so passionate that their pet becomes part of the store name and becomes part of the store's identity.  That's the case here where husband and wife owners Joe C. and Kelsey H. are now entering their 7th year of business in downtown Columbia, MO.  In 2013 they came here with a background in bookselling from the bay area in northern California.  They brought their yellow dog, Scout, along with them.  So their chapter in Columbia began in the bookstore with Scout on board.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Scout because he's no longer with us but his presence and happy personality are felt from the name of the store to the checkered floor and shelves of books within.

Oh how I wish I could've been greeted by this happy guy on my visit.  This is Scout, the inspiration for the store's name.  

This cute little one-level store has a perfect location on one of the busiest streets in downtown Columbia, surrounded by a variety of other small businesses.  The store offers largely used books with a handful of new recent releases.  They also offer vintage and collectible editions and have discussed the idea of selling these online.  Customers can bring their used books in and receive trade, store credit, or cash.  Make sure you know the days and times though that they accept used books.  Yellow Dog has a small number of sidelines including jewelry, locally created greeting cards, and a good assortment of Yellow Dog swag.  I thought the Yellow Dog stuff was especially good including tote bags, mugs, t-shirts, and hats just to name a few.  As you might expect, the store has a solid group of regular customers and attracts customers from the University of Missouri community as well as visitors from out of town.

I didn't get to meet Joe or Kelsey during my visit but the store was left in the very capable hands of one of their staffers, Frankie.  People like Frankie are one of the reasons I enjoy visiting bookstores so much and another reason you can enjoy the experience instead of ordering from an online behemoth.

Parents, the next time you drop off your kid at one of the Columbia colleges, spend some time downtown before you leave.  Wander into Yellow Dog and enjoy the wonder, inspired by a beloved family pet acknowledged in the store's name.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey.  Story of a middle-aged, childless couple living in remote Alaska in 1920.  It has all the usual challenges of an Alaskan winter but they're also challenged by a vision that they can't explain.   A little girl frequents their territory, coming and going without a trace throughout the winters.  Is it a vision, is it real, or is it the child they'd always wished for?  I really enjoyed this one.  Recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  A Bookshop In Berlin, Fran├žoise Frenkel.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Far Beyond The Pale, Daren Dean.  One Yellow Dog hat and one Yellow Dog t-shirt.

I love the store logo and you can get it on most any of their Yellow Dog swag.  

Large front window display.  

Uh oh.  How did they know I was coming?

The store offers mostly used books and a handful of new ones.  If you bring books in, note the days and times you can do so.  

View looking into the bookstore from the front entrance.  Earnest readers might recognize the celebrity browsing through the store.  Yes, that's my mom.   

Just to the left of the front entrance you'll find an assortment of periodicals and magazines.  

This is the long wall of books that will greet you as you enter, along the right wall.  

Make sure you ask about their collectible and vintage editions.  

I love the checkered floor.  

A book cart of some of the featured books.  

Find these shelves in the back of the store to see some of their new books.  

Enter here for the kids section.  

Partial view of the kids' section, for the young and young at heart.  

If you're ever in a used book store and can't find the price of a book, this is one of the usual places to look.  

Just a few of the greeting cards available.  
Find these greeting cards created by local artists.  

I love all of the Yellow Dog swag!  

A few jewelry items available.  

The long wall of fiction and literature, opposite the entrance.  

Find this book tray for the 92 cent bargain books.  

A couple of great seats near the front window.  

Appropriately, this book was in the front window.  

Staffers recommend some of their favorites.  

A few of the items of local and regional interest.  

Looking from the back toward the front entrance.  

With Frankie, one of the fine booksellers at The Yellow Dog Bookshop.  Thanks for a great visit.