Tag: Independent Bookstores

Your Favorite Indie Bookstores: Bookmarks

Want to see your favorite independent bookstore featured next? Submit your nominations here.

 

This Week’s Winner: Bookmarks

 

Image via Joyce Carter

 

We recently asked readers to send us their favorite independent bookstores and tell us what ‘indie’ means to them. This week, we’re focusing on Bookmarks which was nominated by one of its devoted customers.

Celebrating fifteen years in business, Bookmarks is not only an independent bookstore, but they are also a non-profit. With a genuine passion for their community, education, and, of course, books, they host book clubs that are inclusive for all―there is even an LGBTQ group for adults and youth, a trans group, and more. Donations to local schools are provided on a regular basis, and they even host their own book festival, inviting authors to meet with the community. To Bookmarks’ guests, this place is home.

 

 

Joyce Carter, a frequent visitor to Bookmarks, expressed how much the bookstore means to not only herself, but the community of Winston-Salem in North Carolina.

 

It is an oasis in our city!…[A] safe, comfort-filled space. Everyone can find their own space there―kids, individuals, book clubs, the homeless guys who come in to browse―everyone is family. They celebrate the joy of reading in so many ways!

 

Operations Director Jamie Southern adds, “Bookmarks exists because of and for our community. Our organization is a product of community members coming together to bring literary culture to our city.”

 

 

This smalltown bookstore takes you away from the bottom dollar focus of corporate chains and welcomes you into a loving and open community of book lovers. The staff members at Bookmarks are not only greatly accommodating and friendly, they know their stuff! Every bookseller is well-read and passionate about books. Any questions you may have, they will have the answer to.

 

We have staff who care about books deeply… Every book in our store is personally selected by staff and we regularly evaluate inventory to see if each book is appealing to our community of readers. We believe in having a modest quantity of books but providing a depth of scope in what we carry.

-Operations Director Jamie Southern

 

If you can’t find any good books in your local bookstores and you don’t already live there, you may want to move to Winston-Salem, North Carolina if you want to find the best books for your reading pleasure.

 

 

 

As a great place for any book lover to spend their time, you’ll meet with a diverse batch of book lovers, as Bookmarks is an inclusive place for everyone. Ranging from literature to political, conversations here can vary. Many tough discussions on current issues are also had among this bookstore’s aisles. So more than just a place for books, this is also a place for people, all people, which is taken very seriously at Bookmarks.

 

We have a policy to not tolerate hate speech of any kind. We want to be open to everyone in our community to enjoy and we want to be a place where people can connect and have difficult conversations about hot topics in a place of safety and respect.

-Operations Director Jamie Southern

 

 

Mentioned before, Bookmarks is dedicated to education for children. With outreach programs for schools, kids with no access to education, Summer and Youth programs, supporting Bookmarks means making a difference in a child’s life.

 

Image via Joyce Carter

 

Any time of the year is a great opportunity to visit Bookmarks, but the best time to go is when the non-profit is running its annual festival, typically the first or second week of September. You could meet various authors in person, enjoy games, food, and parties all for the love of books. The festival is visited by over 25,000 people, from all across the country.

They are able to give back to the community in so many ways, setting them apart from any chain bookstores.

 

 

Come down to the bookstore, the central hub of the community, where everybody knows your name! They have so much more to offer than just a line at check-out.

 

Learn more about Bookmarks at their website here.

 

Want to see your favorite independent bookstore featured next? Submit your nominations here.

 

 

Featured Image via Jamie Southern

Fenton

Your Favorite Indie Bookstores: Fenton’s Open Book

Want to see your favorite independent bookstore featured next? Submit your nominations here.

 

This Week’s Winner: FENTON’S OPEN BOOK, FENTON, MICHIGAN

 

Fenton's

Image via Fenton’s Open Book

 

We recently asked readers to send us their favorite independent bookstores and tell us what ‘indie’ means to them. This week, we’re focusing on Fenton’s Open Book in Fenton, Michigan, which was nominated by two of its beloved customers.

Fenton’s Open Book has everything you could ask of your neighborhood bookseller: book clubs and community events, knowledgeable and friendly staff, readings for local Michigan authors, fundraisers for local charities including Adopt-a-Pet, special book orders, exclusive merch, generous student/teacher discounts, FREE books for children in exchange for semester report cards, and a speckled Dalmatian named Stormy—your new favorite tour guide.

 

Fenton's

Image via Brenda Hasse

 

Fenton's

Image via Brenda Hasse

 

Image via Brenda Hasse

 

Children’s book author Brenda Hasse (Wilkinshire and The Freelancer) loves helping out at Fenton’s and is especially enthusiastic about the shop’s events, including its recent Harry Potter-themed night: “I had wax-sealed envelopes with Harry Potter’s name on them throughout the store. Patrons had to guess how many Hedwig had delivered. FYI – there were 116!”

 

Fenton's

Image via Brenda Hasse

 

The intimate bookstore participates in big events as well. Bonnie, a Fenton local, had only exciting things to say about the shop’s community engagements and owner: “Always part of any downtown event or Chamber event; started a new October event that was VERY successful. Karen is the best!!!”

 

Fenton's

Image via Brenda Hasse

 

Fenton's

Image via Brenda Hasse

 

Ms. Hasse also happened to praise shop owner Karen Piacentini for her commitment and dedication to Fenton’s, even during harder moments:

[Karen] has continued to keep the bookstore open since her husband’s passing in 2013. I believe she has owned it for nine years. She also works a second job at the special needs preschool. I help out where I can. I just keep pushing her forward in life, decorate the store, and help with events and marketing.

 

Fenton's

Image via Brenda Hasse

 

Fenton’s does A LOT to add as many embellishments as possible to improve its customers’ shopping experience.

Ms. Hasse added, “wonderful and enchanting decorations during the holidays makes the store magical, draws your attention, and entices you to step inside to explore its shelves.”

 

Fenton's

Image via Brenda Hasse

 

Fenton's

Image via Brenda Hasse

 

It goes without saying that Fenton’s is treasured by its customers, community members, and staff; everyone is determined to see the shop succeed. Tri-County Times reported back in 2016 that the shop’s employees surprised Ms. Piacentini with a new sign after years of customers telling her that they could not find the store with ease.

 

Fenton's

Image via Tri-County Times

 

Fenton’s next grand event is a celebration of Independent Bookstore Day. This year’s theme—Alice in Wonderland. Brenda elaborates on what the shop has done to make a wonderland for its customers:

We have cut-outs of the Alice characters, painted red rose bushes, a croquet game with stuffed animal balls to hit with the mallet, sweets and eats with a sign that says ‘Eat Me,’ punch labeled ‘Drink Me,’ little card stock hats for prizes—they contain candy and a decorative brooch. I’m certain we will be adding more activities to make the day fun!

 

Fenton's

Image via Brenda Hasse

 

Learn more about Fenton’s Open Book at their website here, or check out the shop on Facebook here!

 

Want to see your favorite independent bookstore featured next? Submit your nominations here.

 

 

Featured Image via Tri-County Times