Bookspot of the Week: Pete & Freddy’s Pages Aplenty

For this weeks Bookspot of the Week we’re heading to Mentone, Indiana and Pete & Freddy’s Pages Aplenty and the comfy atmosphere within.

Book Culture Bookspot / Libraries

Welcome to this weeks Bookspot of the Week, where we explore different bookstores around the country and interview the owners. This time we’re heading to Mentone, Indiana at Pete & Freddy’s Pages Aplenty, a cozy bookstore that truly cares about it’s customers interests and community. In an interview with owners Maddie Anweiler and Elyza Oswald we learned all about what makes this local book shop special!


How did your bookstore transition from concept to reality?

When we were 21 (Pete aka Maddie) and 19 (Freddy aka Elyza) we kept talking about our dream to own a shop. Pete, specifically is not good at waiting or “this is for the future”, she wanted it now! Once we started talking and expressing to friends and family our desire, it feels as though it happened overnight. Our father walked into another local business, at the time he was a salesperson, and mentioned having daughters that wanted to start a bookshop. The next day we were meeting with the landlord to see the building. We did open the shop on our own and we run it together, but our family continues to support our bibliophile hearts. Our business card says it perfectly: Women Led. Family Powered. Community Driven. Book Inspired.


What do you feel is unique to your bookstore?

Our knowledge of books is a force to be reckoned with in our humble opinion (haha). As sisters, best friends, and book lovers we compliment each other well not only in business, but in our ability to cover a wide range of reading tastes. It was very important to us to know the books on the shelf, our inventory. Every book is cataloged in our system, new or gently used, every book gets the same treatment. We took these mad skills last year and began offering custom curated book boxes. They were an overnight hit and tremendously helped grow our online presence. It gave us the opportunity to truly utilize our Facebook and Instagram platforms with one on one interactions with the customers.


If you had infinite space, what might you add to the store?

More cozy seating, more sub-genre shelving, more bookish related items, and of course…more books!

How do you feel your bookstore fits into your local community?

We are very community minded and friendly. When we moved here years ago we didn’t know many people, but the shop has helped us to make friends and to become a source for others who may not feel they belong in a ‘small-town’ atmosphere to feel less alone when they walk into our shop.


What does your store offer that a chain or online retailer can’t?

Who’s behind the counter is who owns the shop. We are the only employees and we have a high level of self-expectation for our shop because first and foremost we are readers. As such, we like to think we know better than a chain or online store what the customer wants because we are book consumers at heart too! 

How else do you create a welcoming environment?

Our regular customer base may be small, but they are mighty. By interacting with our customers as though they are long lost bookish siblings (some have become like family to us even) we believe we create an environment where everyone is welcome, safe, and shown how powerful the knowledge of books is and can be.

What about your store do you think appeals to your neighborhood?

We are unique. Our Mum likes to say our shop looks like the love child of Nanny Mcphee and The Shop Around the Corner (You’ve Got Mail). When we first opened our shop we were one of three businesses in town and since then our little town has grown. Even then, there are not many bookshops nearby and people are hungrier more than ever it seems, for the written word. We are resilient and believe that small-towns are too, our community recognizes that about us and definitely makes us feel like we are a leader of the charge to “shop local”.


Do you have any staff picks or releases we should watch out for?

As we are predominantly curators of gently used books, we are huge on backlist reads. However, we would be lying if we told you we didn’t read the up and comings too. We both LOVE Helen Ellis and can’t wait for her new collection, Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light. Pete is very much looking forward to Helen Hoang’s next book, The Heart Principle.

Do you tailor your inventory according to your community?

Yes. It was very much a learning curve for us both. We have had to broaden our own horizons and to add books to our inventory we wouldn’t necessarily purchase otherwise, but we know that our community appreciates the availability of the titles locally.


Is there anything else that you’d like our audience to know?

Bookstores are not dying. We hear this from time to time and we know firsthand from our online community, that books and bookstores are the heartbeat of ‘keep going’ for so many, especially in light of everything going on in the last year. Books are magic and books have given us so many opportunities that we continue to be grateful for; they aren’t going anywhere!

Looking for more Bookspots to check out around the nation? You can find more here!