Monday, October 24, 2022

Bettie's Pages - Lowell, MI


Bettie's Pages, Lowell, MI

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What does a person with a career in banking do when they've had enough, they can't take it anymore, and they HAVE to find their life's passion?  Easy, they open a bookstore and they do it in a small Michigan town with a population of approximately 3700.  So Bettie's Pages landed here in February of 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic and is now cruising along in a community that has gladly embraced this welcomed business.  

Owner Nicole L. does a great job curating the store's inventory with an emphasis on social justice, human rights, and lending a voice to diversity.  You'll find new and used books here, all shelved together.  The sidelines are numerous and as Nicole told me the stickers are hot.  They also carry a variety of headbands that are created locally and are very popular.  In their 2 1/2 short years they're very active with events, book clubs, children's story time and they have fostered a partnership with the library and local schools.  They're even going to partner for school book fairs.  Way to go, Lowell.

Surprisingly, the owner's name is not Bettie, its Nicole.  The store is named after a 1950s pin-up model, Bettie Page.  Nicole spun that into Bettie's Pages, which I think is very clever.  The theme continues with the two store cats, Bettie and Page.  

I was thrilled to hear their pandemic survival story.  They put together "boredom kits," kits with a book and other assorted items.  They were very successful with this and sold them all over the country.  The 2nd factor for their survival success was a VERY sympathetic landlord who didn't press and allowed plenty of flexibility for their monthly rent.  What a benefit for any indie that enjoys an arrangement like this.

But the thing I was most intrigued to hear about is that this historic building from the 1800s is also the home to two ghosts, a man and a woman.  The man who is very friendly and the woman who is more or less tolerant.  Books, ghosts, and cats; what more could you want? (Oh, maybe a mystery involving all of the above?  Here you go local authors!). 

If you're in Lowell and you're open and willing to learn this is the place to visit.  Enjoy a chat with Nicole, bookseller Shelby, Bettie and Page, and maybe an unexplained bump from a friendly ghost.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.  

JUST FINISHED:  Thunderstruck, Erik Larson.  I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I've read by this author and this one is no different.  He writes narrative non-fiction and this one is about the rise of Marconi and his challenges with establishing a wireless communication device.  That story intersects with the story of a mild-mannered doctor, Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, who is universally acknowledged as one of the nicest people you could meet.  Yet, after his boisterous and flamboyant wife goes missing, the whispers about foul play begin.  Highly recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Maid, Stephanie Land. 

Creative storefront window displays. 

On a nice day you can start the browsing before you even enter the store. 

View looking into the beautiful interior from the front entrance. 

View looking to the right side of the store. 

This store offers community members many opportunities to get involved. 

You will have to ask Nicole whether this is Bettie or Page. 

On the left side of the store you'll find several book nooks like this one. 

I cannot believe how popular stickers are in the many indies I've visited. 

Makes sense to me. 

The store offers a wide variety of sidelines. 

Lots of gift ideas for non readers. 

Very popular locally created headbands. 

Head toward the back of the store to see more sidelines like the goofy socks. 

A few of the greeting cards available. 

Lots of display spaces with this. 
The perfect place to sample a book. 

Toward the back of the store and on the left. 

When I visit bookstores with cats, its usually challenging to get a good picture. 

This remarkable mural can be found in the children's room.  Absolutely beautiful. 

An overview of the children's section. 

Overview of the store looking from the back and through a couple of rooms to the front entrance. 

With Nicole, the fine owner at Bettie's Pages.  Thanks for a great visit. 

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