Last week, my husband and I went on a quest to find a new book store. And although we like the Barnes and Noble in Boardman, we still miss our local Borders, where there was a warmer, more personal atmosphere and a friendly, helpful staff who would knock themselves out to help you find or order whatever you were seeking. Our quest took us to the neighboring state of Pennsylvania to Hermitage, where there were rumors of an exceptional bookstore with knowledgeable staff and actual books to touch and hold and open and... (sigh).
The Shenango Valley Mall on E. State Street is a big brick rectangle that only labels the anchor stores, like Macy's and Penney's, so we stopped a friendly-looking woman crossing the street to ask her if there really was such a book store in this retail rectangle. She knew the store and gave us parking and entrance advice, and expressing gratitude for not running her down.
Once inside the mall, the bookstore was easy to find. The bright, colorful store was well-organized and inviting. I found a really good Bridge book, (Bridge - the card game, not the architectural structure, though I like both) and the happy husband also found something of interest in the line of dull, boring finance.
I was thrilled to find a section devoted to local, independent authors, usually overlooked as not profitable by the big bookstore chains.
The store was meticulous and well-lit. The variety and selection was equal to or better than the big bookstore chains As a retired primary and reading teacher, I was also impressed with the beautiful selection of children's book. Old favorite series as well as new authors were displayed along side old favorites like Rainbow Fish, Goodnight Moon, and Love You Forever. This is a Grandma's Book Shopping Heaven. And they have something called The Baby Shower Book Registry, where parents-to-be can choose books they would like to have to read to their new bundle of joy.
There was a great selection of calendars for next year on display. I couldn't resist a floral one for my newly redecorated office. The magazine selection was also very good.
And the owner, the lovely, energetic Leana Hillard, who runs the store with her husband Vince, was pleasant and helpful and a wealth of knowledge about upcoming events in the book business.
Leana and Vince do so many cute activities for the local school age children, like The Ignor Ramus - A Curious Rhyme Coloring Contest and Student of the Month Displays.
This is what a local bookstore should be, and try as they may, this is why the big bookstores cannot replace the warm, friendly, knowledgeable literary atmosphere of the small, independent bookseller. Shop local.
If you are in the area, you need to stop by
Leana's Books & More! I guarantee you will enjoy the experience. Her prices are comparable
and she'll order something for you if it's not in stock. She has a website and will ship your book for $.99.
Leana's Books & More
3341 E. State Street
Hermitage, PA 16148
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