Monday, October 25, 2021

Chapter One Books - Victoria, MN


Chapter One Books, Victoria, MN

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Regular followers of this blog know that I'm partial to teachers, especially talented teachers.  So to meet a talented teacher who is also a bookstore owner is just, well, nirvana.  And on the afternoon of my visit, owner Angie was combining both talents.  Leading a story time with elementary-aged students and selling books as a bookstore owner.  The good ones know how to multi-task.  What a gift for her and what a gift she and Chapter One Books are for Victoria, MN

For Victoria, a town of approximately 10,000, this is a big deal.  Finally, thanks to Angie they have an independent bookstore, the only one within a wide area.  As Angie said, this community is booming with new businesses and new housing developments.  It would seem to me that Chapter One has launched at the perfect time to take advantage of the inevitable population and economic growth.  As she said, MANY of the locals were thrilled when Chapter One opened its doors.  The business actually began a year ago as an online only store.  Things went so well they opened a brick and mortar last March and the results are what you see in the pictures below.  A bright, clean, neat, and well-organized (just like a good teacher) space located on a lower level building of retail businesses in downtown Victoria.  Already, the store has a devoted core of regulars and I'm not surprised.  In addition to the story time I saw, there is also kids' book club.  The adults started asking for their own book club and the first time they met there were 20+ members.

Chapter One offers all new books along with a few used.  Angie may expand the used books offered in the future.  There are a few sidelines including locally created greeting cards and stickers, bookstore candles, tote bags, and quirky wine glasses to name a few.

If you're a family in the Victoria area with young kids, this is must see.  Angie is great with kids and her talent shines in the children's section of the store.  This store and its owner have a bright future so Victoria, now it's up to you.  Shop local, buy local and take pride in your very own independent bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Lightning Strike, William Kent Krueger.  This is a new release by one of my favorite authors.  This is the prequel to his many books that feature Sheriff Cork O'Connor in the town of Aurora, MN.  In this book, Cork is a child and his dad, Liam, is sheriff.  There is tension between the Ojibwe community and white community because of the apparent suicide of Big John Manydeeds, a member of the Ojibwe tribe.  Then the disappearance of a young Ojibwe girl increases the tension and the pressure is on for Liam to solve the cases.  Can the two communities set aside their differences and work together?  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Eventide, Kent Haruf. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Pony, R. J. Palacio. 

I'm going in, just try to stop me. 

When you enter the building you'll see this sign.  Go directly downstairs and turn left. 

View into the bookstore and looking to the right from the entrance. 

Looking straight ahead from the entrance. 

Looking to the left after entering.  Angie was hosting a story time on the day of my visit. 

Relevant display. 

Seasonal display for kids near the front of the store.  Angie does a great job of curating the store for kids. 

Birthday parties at a bookstore?  Hey Victoria parents, make this happen for your kids. 

Some good stuff on the discount table. 

Beautiful wall display of books. 

I can confirm that this is a wonderful place to sit.  While I was waiting to meet Angie, I was quite comfortable seated here sampling a few books. 

Lots of books to browse. 

You can always find a deal in the used books. 

Overview of the store, side to side.  Some bookstores I visit are in a long and narrow space.  This is just the opposite, not long but very wide. 

Banned book displays were front and center in many bookstores during Banned Books Week. 

A table of games and activities waiting for young customers. 

You might as well get one to hold all the books you'll buy. 

Victoria area parents should definitely consider this service. 

Partial view of the children's area. 

 Angie is going to do a great job reaching out to kids. 

ALWAYS ask your independent bookstore about gift cards.  This is a good way to fight the supply chain issue. 

Locally created stickers perfectly located at the check-out counter. 

Popular bookstore-themed candles. 

A great gift idea. 

With Angie, the fine owner at Chapter One Books.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Book House In Dinkytown - Minneapolis, MN

The Book House In Dinkydale, Minneapolis, MN

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Two things to be aware of when you visit this wonderful used bookstore in Dinkytown of Minneapolis.  First, your IQ will immediately jump dozens of points since you're surrounded by numerous works of philosophy, sociology, and academia among the approximately 30,000 books in the store (not to mention all the really smart booksellers and staffers you'll be surrounded by!).  This store instantly made me feel smarter and I'll take all the help I can get.  Secondly, consider eating a large cookie while browsing the labyrinth of nooks, aisles, and rooms.  The cookie crumb trail will be your life line to find your way back out!  Of course, this is EXACTLY the kind of store book lovers flock to with no desire to leave in any hurry.  Since this Minneapolis institution has been a vibrant member of the Dinkytown community for 45 years and with the original owner, I'd say they've got a good groove going. 

The Book House is located on the main street through Dinkytown, a very active retail area in a college town worth a visit.  The business is located on the 2nd floor of the Dinkydale building and is very easy to find for 1st-time customers.  Don't be intimidated by the philosophy and academia genres here because they have everything.  In addition to the 30,000 books in the store, they have approximately another 30,000 in storage.  They're very active with their online sales which is easily over half of their business.  But if you're able to visit the store the price of the book will be a little less than if you buy it online.  The store also has a large inventory of collectable and rare books and they are scattered throughout the store.  These books can be found on their website along with about 30,000 others, an excellent online presence.

The obvious customers here are the ones with a tie to the University of Minnesota, over 60% or so of their customers.  Students, parents, and professors all find their way here.  In their 45 years of business, this is only their 2nd location having been in the current space for 8 years.

The staff here is out of this world.  I didn't meet Kristen, the owner, during this visit but had a great time talking to store manager Ryan along with Matt, Tom, and Catherine.  Ryan and Matt are in the process of taking over the ownership and they seem like they'll be perfect for that and will secure the store's presence into the future.

Hey Gopher freshmen, did your freshmen orientation guides take you to The Book House?  No?  Well, you didn't get the full tour then.  If nothing else, tell your book-loving parents to check this terrific place out after they drop you off.  Or maybe they'll drop YOU off here!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  My Life And Hard Times, James Thurber.  Originally published in 1933, the author was a humorist, cartoonist, and writer and was with the New Yorker for many years.  A fun, quick read, autobiographical in nature, of his many funny episodes in his early years growing up in Ohio.  Refreshing and historical look at life in the early 20th century.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Lightning Strike, William Kent Krueger. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Not purchased, but gifted:  The Art of Freddy, illustrations by Kurt Wiese, text by Walter R. Brooks.  Thanks Ryan.  

There are a handful of theories about how Dinkytown got it's name.  The certainty of the area though is there is nothing boring about it. 

Follow the signs and proceed upstairs to The Book House. 

Look for this sign at the ground-level entrance and then proceed up the stairs. 

Lots of college history in this area.  If you went to the University of Minnesota and never visited this bookstore you missed out. 

Looking straight into the store after coming up the stairway. 

Better view of the store looking to the left from the entrance. 

A bargain display at the checkout counter. 

Another overview of the main room.  Keep in mind that there are MANY more books behind that pictured bookshelf.

The store doesn't have many sidelines but they have some wonderful unique greeting cards made by local artists. 

Vintage and collectible books can be found throughout the store.  These are right at the check-out counter. 

A long aisle off the main room. 

One of the many book nooks found throughout the store. 

Really?  The COMPACT edition?  I'd hate to see the unabridged version!

I can always find good stuff in the new arrivals at a used book store. 

Many indies featured a display of banned books during Banned Books Week. 

Partial view of one of the several rooms. 

You'll find these just inside the store entrance. 

Unique art work rarely found elsewhere. 

Overview of one of the side rooms. 

Books and music on vinyl. 

One of the back rooms. 

I love this vintage card. 

A particular genre of vintage books that I haven't seen in many indies!

The perfect place to sample a book. 

Many of the vintage and collectible editions can be found in this room. 

With Ryan on the right, the fine store manager at The Book House In Dinkytown.  Thanks for a great visit.