Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Bookstore - Pine City, MN


The Bookstore, Pine City, MN

(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter) 

It would be so easy to write a couple of short sentences about this bookstore and call it good.  But it is so much more than three rooms and a hallway.  This bookstore has a sparkle, spirit, and an energy that is a reflection of the owner, Dana P., the charming and enthusiastic owner of The Bookstore.  This indie has been open for about 6 months and Dana and the town are equally thrilled about this new business.  Compare it to the starving man who goes to a buffet.  This community of readers is that starving man and The Bookstore is the only buffet in a large county.  Or as Dana puts it, a bookstore desert.  The owner of the building feels so strongly about the importance of a bookstore that Dana has been given a very favorable lease.  In 6 short months the store is off to a fantastic start, heartily supported by a community of approximately 3000, and now looks forward optimistically to a successful holiday season.  

The store offers a 50/50 mix of new and used books and the people are so happy to have a bookstore most of the used books are donated.  There are a mix of sidelines including bookstore t-shirts, tote bags, greeting cards, and journals to name just a few.  They offer online ordering and that has gone well so far.  I think best of all for The Bookstore is its excellent location on a busy street with other businesses and right across the street from Robinson Park, the main city park.  For example, when the park hosts weekly music in the summers the bookstore has an author signing on the sidewalk outside the store.  The frequent events held in the park naturally leads to good foot traffic for the store.  And the store already hosts two book clubs, one for elementary and one for adults where they'll have their next meeting at a local brewery.  Well done, Dana.

But the name of the store, The Bookstore?  Really?  As Dana explained, when their family would travel through towns they would be frustrated by businesses with names that gave them no indication of what they sold.  So, Dana decided to leave NO doubt about the identity of her business and what they sold at The Bookstore.  Congratulations to Pine City and Dana on this essential new local business.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Dry, Jane Harper.  In the parched dry land of Australia, desperate times lead to desperate measures and a husband and father takes the life of his wife, small son, and himself.  A cut and dried obvious double murder/suicide that stuns the community.  But a former resident and friend of the killer comes back and starts digging into these events and is not so sure.  An ending you don't see coming. Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  How The Word Is Passed, Clint Smith. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Evergreen Tidings From The Baumgartners, Gretchen Anthony.  Not purchased but gifted, my very own bookstore t-shirt and a bookstore tote bag.  Thanks Dana!

Beautiful storefront.  You can tell by the name of the store what they sell!

Beautiful front display window featuring the locally created store design. 

It's always nice to start the shopping outside when the weather's nice. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  As you go down this hallway you'll find two rooms on the left completely filled with books. 

Stepping into the store and looking to the left. 

You'll find a variety of sidelines in the front of the store underneath their creative store logo. 

The back room is devoted to children but they might also find some interesting items displayed below the checkout counter. 

If you live in Pine City, get your bookstore shirt here. 

A few of the items in nonfiction and graphic novels can be found here. 

The store has a great location right across the street from Robinson Park.  The photographer did a bad job of capturing the park's enormity and beauty. 

First room down the hallway, loaded with fiction and mysteries among other things. 

A few of the fiction offerings.  You'll find recommendations throughout the store noted by the blue pieces of paper, shelf-talkers. 

This is the second room on the left down the hallway.  Kids are going to love this section. 

Attractive book display just inside the children's room. 

Grumpy Monkey = happy kids. 

There are book displays for all ages in the kids' room. 

Need a new journal or know someone who does?  Send them here. 

With Dana, the fine owner at The Bookstore.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Northwind Book & Fiber - Spooner, WI

Northwind Book & Fiber, Spooner, WI

(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

I didn't get to meet owner Carol on this visit but boy was the store in good hands on this day.  I can't imagine a more talented and knowledgeable person to be at this speific store than Denise D.  In addition to all new books, Northwind offers an extensive sideline of "fiber", including all things yarn, sewing, knitting, weaving, and all related accessories.  Fortunately for Northwind, Denise has an extensive background in all of the above and even teaches classes in these subjects.  She has also had one of her patterns published, a wonderful achievement.  I wish I could articulate accurately this incredible part of the store but I'm sure any of the regulars can vouch for this.  I challenge any customer to stump her with a question in this department because I don't think it can be done.  But before you get to this section you'll have to peruse the books.

Carol is the 2nd owner of this business that has been successful for 25+ years.  I am so impressed by the community support, in a town of approximately 2500.  And now the store is seeing more and more tourists finding their way through the doors.  Thankfully, the store did very well during the pandemic due to Carol's efforts, especially with their online sales, something that continues to do well.  Besides the fiber and a healthy inventory of arts and crafts, you'll find greeting cards, puzzles, games, stickers, and walking sticks to name a few.  They also offer classes in the store, book clubs, and author events.  Regular customers can take advantage of their store visits with a loyalty card and apply their purchases toward a future discount.  In other words, this store really has it all.  Way to go, Northwind.  

I visited here on a Thursday, a lucky day for me because its the one day a week that Denise works at Northwind.  Her background covers just about everything in this store.  Heck, walk by the store during the holidays and you'll probably see her creativity on display in one of the store windows.

Spooner is not a town to simply pass through.  On your next vacay in the region, turn onto the busiest street downtown.  Say hello to Carol and the gang and if its on a Thursday, say hello to Denise and enjoy a great bookstore experience.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Devil's Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated The South's Most Notorious Slave Jail, Kristen Green.  The true story of Mary Lumpkin, an enslaved woman and her struggle to survive and endure despite the sexual abuse of her enslaver and slave trader, Robert Lumpkin, who ran Lumpkin's Jail.  She persevered and is credited with starting a school in the same jail which was the beginnings of Virginia Union University.  The author has done voluminous research but was also forced to speculate about much of the history since the plight of Black women in the 1800s was rarely documented.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  The Dry, Jane Harper. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:   Paris, Edward Rutherford.  Poop Bingo, a game.  


The beautiful historic building that is the home of Northwind Books & Fiber. 
One of the beautiful display windows. 


Enjoy your book here on a nice day. 


Not enough window space to list everything in the store. 


Of course!  I love this. 


View looking into the store from the front entrance. 
Looking to the right from the front entrance. 


You can make your sticker purchase at the check out counter. 

Specially made chocolate for Northwind from Chicago only available in this store. 

Venture to the right after entering and checkout the staff picks. 


Stroll over to the right side of the store for one of my favorite pictures.  Start browsing. 


Recent releases just inside the store. 


Just the tip of the iceberg to whet your yarn appetite. 


Table display of new arrivals.  I've got my eyes on that new book about Jim Thorpe. 
Display of best sellers. 
The store has many attractive table displays. 
Just a few of the items of local and regional interest. 
I don't know what this is.   I'm intrigued. 


An example of some of the wonderful art work you can see displayed throughout the store. 
In order to carry all the yarn and books you'll buy, this is the perfect thing you'll need for that and to remember the great day you had at this store. 


Overview of the children's area. 


One of the neatly organized book nooks. 
Walk down the center aisle halfway through the store and look to the left.  Yarn City. 

This is looking to the right from that same position.. 


More yarn and a plethora of magazines with lots of patterns and tips.


A great area for group knitting, group projects, and book clubs. 
An extensive assortment of greeting cards. 


Kids will love this store. 

A wide assortment of games. 
View looking from the back of the store toward the front entrance. 


I don't know what Japanese seed beads are but I can't imagine where I would find them other than this store. 


If you have an artist in the family they have everything you want here. 

If you're in the Spooner area and visit the bookstore even a little, do yourself a favor and get a frequent buyer's card and get rewarded for your visits. 

With Denise, the fine book and yarn expert at Northhwind Books & Fiber.  Thanks for a great visit.