|Swamp Fox Bookstore, Marion, IA
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Even during these extraordinary times of a raging pandemic, a stressful election, and for Iowa, a devastating derecho (land hurricane), I am here to tell you there is good news in some corners of the country for independent bookstores. We can find hope in a cute, tiny bookstore that sparks a twinkle of optimism for bookstore enthusiasts and readers living in eastern Iowa. Marion, IA was without an independent bookstore but that void has been filled. Swamp Fox Books was born and is now successfully enjoying its 4th month of business. This success is thanks to the three determined, passionate, and knowledgeable women co-owners, all with backgrounds and previous experience in bookstores. After visiting the store and these women, I'm encouraged more that ever for the future of Swamp Fox.
I've been to over 400 bookstores now but don't know if I've been to one this small. The smallness of the store though has not been a deterrent to its early success. Far from it. Ursla L., one-of the co-owners, told me that their revenue is not only sustaining but providing a profit. Their small space has reduced overhead and their lease is very reasonable allowing for positive growth. They also have a great location next to the West End Diner so you can get your coffee, pastry, and light lunch right by the bookstore. For my followers flung afar across the country you can visit their website and view their inventory. For my Iowa followers you can do curbside pick-up or they'll deliver locally. The store space may be tiny but their customer service is huge. Like other indies, they already have an active events schedule for adults and children alike. Way to go, Swamp Fox!
Ursla, Terri, and Amanda are the wonderful women in charge here and if you're anywhere near Marion you need to pop in and meet them. They always have great book recommendations.
But this is the event I want you to watch for. Some indies have cats or dogs but not Swamp Fox. Prima, a local celebrity alpaca occasionally appears at the store for an event. And when she does she attracts a crowd who enthusiastically come to meet her. And heck, as long as they're there, they might as well check out the books.
Not everyone in Marion has found this bookstore yet. This is your notice. Embrace this terrific bookstore and get started on that holiday shopping. Maybe even find something for yourself. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: The Code Of The Woosters, P. G. Wodehouse. For me, I call books like this "palate cleansers." 1930s British humor featuring and escapades featuring Bertie Wooster and his manservant Jeeves. There are several of these adventures with these two characters by Wodehouse. If you're a serious reader and haven't read anything by this author yet, check him out. Recommended.
CURRENTLY READING: Winter Garden, Kristin Hannah.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: A Promised Land, Barack Obama. Not purchased but gifted, Anxious People, Fredrik Backman. Thanks Ursla!
|Exterior view. A tiny shop with a big heart.
|Some of what you'll find within.
|Directly across from the bookstore is the West End Diner, a great place to visit after you get your book.
|A great place to sit with your book outside the store.
|Looking to the left inside the entrance.
|Looking straight ahead into the store. Lots of children's books in this area.
|Make sure you check out the display on the right behind the check-out counter.
|Lots of options under the check-out counter.
|Available at independent bookstores everywhere. You'll have someone on your Christmas list who will want this.
|Seasonal book display for children.
|View looking across the store.
|A great reminder.
|Wear your Swamp Fox swag and get a discount.
|View of the store from the outdoor seating at the West End Diner.
|A must for your holiday shopping.
|The entire visit was conducted safely with masks and distancing.
|Masks off and held our breath so you could really see these super people. From L-R: yours truly, Terri, Ursla, and Amanda. The fine people you'll meet at Swamp Fox Books. Thanks for a great visit.