Monday, February 26, 2024

Bound To Happen - Stevens Point, WI

Bound To Happen, Stevens Point, WI

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It was bound to happen (sorry, I couldn’t resist) that sooner or later I would stumble into Bound To Happen.  I’ve been following them for 2+ years ever since they opened and because of this I KNEW I wouldn’t be disappointed.  But what I didn’t know was how much fun it would be to meet co-owner Lin C. and bookseller Taylor L.  Bound To Happen regulars know what I’m talking about and the experience of browsing and chatting here is so much better than getting that book from the online discount site!

Since the store’s opening it has come a long way.  Instead of sharing a business space on one-level with only new books, it now has two levels of new and used books with all the new books on the main floor and all the used books in the lower basement level.  Used books are accepted as donations only and the proceeds of their sales go to benefit the local schools.  If you can’t visit in person go to the store’s website and make your online purchase there, a great way to support this indie.   However, visiting in-person allows you to enjoy their perfect location in the heart of downtown Stevens Point.  The sidelines are varied and numerous including greeting cards, locally and uniquely created mugs, bookstore candles, stationery supplies, and of course stickers to name only a few.

Bound To Happen offers occasional events and one of their most successful ones is the Boozy Book Fair, held a few times a year.  They meet at a local brewery/bar, provide a sampling of books for purchase, and drink beer.  I know there are some indies that do something similar but this seems like a super idea.  Lin told me that the last time they did this it was so well-attended that they didn’t have enough seats.  

Lin co-owns the bookstore along with Nicole and Rachel.  Thankfully, I was able to meet Lin who just returned from this year’s Winter Institute held in Cincinnati.  If you’re an owner or bookseller and have never been to Winter Institute, talk to Lin for a full endorsement for all the ideas you’ll bring back to your store.  For the regulars and newbies who visit Bound To Happen, you’ll be the lucky ones to enjoy the years ahead at this wonderful independent bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.  

JUST FINISHED:  Lean On Pete, Willy Vlautin.  A 15-year old kid should never have to go through what Charley Thompson is enduring.  Living on the edge with no mother, an often absent father, little to eat, no money, and finally homelessness leading to a search for a remote relative to help him.  His survival includes removing a horse from an abusive situation and caring for him throughout.  Incredible story that is on the sad side but extremely readable from an author that I thoroughly enjoy.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and The American Struggle, Jon Meacham.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and The American Struggle, Jon Meacham.  


I love sidewalk signs like this. 

Bound To Happen has large window displays and this is just one of them. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance. 

Looking to the right from the front entrance. 

Just a few of the staff picks to the left after entering the store. 

Stickers are hot almost everywhere I visit and you'll find a wide variety at the checkout counter. 

A few of the sidelines including mugs and candles to name just a few. 

These mugs really caught my eye.  Not only unique but created locally.  If you see it in a bookstore and you like it, GET IT!  It will be difficult to find it anywhere else. 

Not familiar.  Anybody tried this yet?

Just a few of the greeting cards available. 

Sale cart near the front entrance. 

Head over to the left side of the store for these genres. 

One of the many book nooks in the store. 

I've enjoyed discovering many good Wisconsin authors on my journey. 

Timely and relevant display. 

A great place to get comfy with a book. 

Heading toward the children's area. 

Partial view of the attractive children's area. 

I love this mural in the back of the store in the children's area. 

These book lights have been popular sellers. 

Looking into the lower level.  You'll find mostly used books here. 

Neatly arranged shelves, clearly marked genres, and excellent lighting. 

A comfy little chair for a little reader in the children's section. 

Overview of the lower level.  Some basements are dingy, but not this one!  Nice job!

Get'em while they last. 

With Lin on the right, one of the fine co-owners at Bound To Happen.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Republic of Letters - Mineral Point, WI

Republic of Letters, Mineral Point, WI

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Over the years I've been to Mineral Point many times and its one of those towns that I could never understand why they didn't have an independent bookstore.  Historic downtown district with beautiful stone buildings, many independent businesses, and a renowned and legendary artist's colony dating back over a century.  Thankfully, partners Keith and Leslie were wondering the same thing as me and they decided to act.  As Keith said, this town needs a bookstore.  The results?  See for yourself in the pictures below.  A beautiful and creatively designed interior offering new and used books in a spacious, bright space located in the middle of downtown.  And I'm happy to say that in the 8 short months of existence it is off to a successful start and poised for an exciting future.  Congratulations Keith and Leslie!

Keith is so excited about this store and told me of all the great local connections that complement the store's business.  There are so many I won't even be able to tell you all of them.  For example, the local librarians were so happy to have a bookstore that they were trying to order books before the store even opened.  The store also enjoys a partnership with the local schools and held an event with a well-known author who said it was the largest crowd ever for one of her events.  Every spring there is a Writer's Retreat, held in May this year, in town and some of those participants share their work through events held in the store.

You'll notice few to no sidelines when you visit Republic of Letters and that's by design.  It's so encouraging that the store is doing very well selling just books, especially in a town of approximately 2600.  In addition to the core of regular customers, they also see visitors from surrounding communities and from Madison (this town is considered part of the Greater Madison area).  To make up for an absence of sidelines, there is a space in the back of the store called The Book Kitchen.  In less than a month The Book Kitchen owner Nicole has hosted numerous events, for all levels and interests of cooking classes.  She has an incredible kitchen work space that resembles a large classroom and a great demonstration station.  They use cookbooks for many events that are available in the bookstore and best of all is that everyone that goes to these events has to walk through the bookstore to get there.  A wonderful partnership for both businesses.  

If you're in this region and haven't visited Republic of Letters yet you're missing out.  Don't walk, SPRINT, to this fantastic bookstore and discover a terrific bookstore experience with Keith and Leslie and enjoy the energy of their enthusiasm and the excitement of optimism in Mineral Point.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Librarianist, Patrick deWitt.  Yes, the main character is a retired librarian.  But if you're expecting a book about him and libraries you'll be disappointed.  In retirement, he decides to become a volunteer in a senior citizen center.  While there, he discovers that one of the more troubled seniors has a close connection to his life decades earlier and is now unrecognizable.  Includes a couple of flashbacks to major moments in the librarian's life.  This one is a bit slow-paced. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Lean On Pete, Willy Vlautin.

RECENTLY PURCHASED: Still True, Maggie Ginsberg.  A Winter's Rime, Carol Dunbar. 

Beautiful storefront on a beautiful winter day. 

The bookstore building is recognized as a historic place.  History buffs will enjoy exploring this town and region.

There aren't many winter days that allow for bargain browsing OUTSIDE before entering the store. 

View looking into the store from the front entrance. 

A very comfy setting to the right after entering the store.  Grab a book, settle in, and give it a try. 

This beautiful decorative lighting is Leslie's touch. 

Display of recent releases.  This display table was crafted by a local artisan who is in demand for his creative work.  He donated it to the bookstore. 

Colorful table covering adding to the artistic interior beauty. 

Just to the left after entering is another display of the recent releases and a few of the sidelines. 

Yes, you'll need to get one of these for all your books. 

ALWAYS ask your independent bookstore about gift cards. 

You'll be able to get The Republic of Letters at the Republic of Letters. 

The bookstore has an excellent section of cookbooks which pair nicely with The Book Kitchen located in the back of the store. 

Attractively wrapped Blind Date With A Book promotion. 

An upcoming event in the Book Kitchen will feature a recipe from this book.

Go to the center of the store and enjoy this seat with a friend. 

Overview of the children's area.  Behind this you'll find the Book Kitchen. 

The nice thing about The Book Kitchen is not only their wide variety of events but all of the participants can enjoy walking through the bookstore to get here.  What a great set-up!

Finely crafted dining table to the left in The Book Kitchen. 

View looking into The Book Kitchen.  Notice all of the table work-stations. 

Overview of The Book Kitchen. 

One of the most unique furniture pieces I've seen.  Made of paper yet highly durable.  You can fold this down into a single chair setting. 

Favorite picture in just about any indie. 

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

With Keith and Leslie, the fine owners at Republic of Letters.  Thanks for a great visit.