The closure of Hastings in our town caused a frenzy on Facebook. Everywhere I looked people were saying things like “no more books in Wenatchee” or “guess I will have to learn how to shop online” or “we have to drive hours to find another bookstore”, the list of comments goes on.
Every few seconds I caught myself posting “there is still a local used bookstore, located at 11 Palouse St.”. I was copying and pasting that response as fast as I could. I realized many people just move on and don’t come back to look at responses on public forums.
I reached out to Mike Irwin and asked if he could put a little blurb in the paper reminding people there is still a used bookstore, a pretty good sized one at that, still here in the valley.
Boy was a surprised! He wrote a very nice article and included information on some of my local artists as well!
So happy to have others finding us down here off the “beaten path”. Many new faces found us today, they also found a very tired little greeter taking a nap buried in her bear.
Q&A | Yes, Wenatchee still has general interest bookstore
WENATCHEE — The impending demise of Hastings Books Music& Video doesn’t mean Wenatchee will be without a general-interest bookstore.
The Wenatchee Book Co. at 11 Palouse St. is alive and thriving, says AnaMaree Ordway, who’s owned the store for around 13 months. Her store’s bulging shelves carry thousands of books with thousands more waiting to be priced and added to the stock.
Encouraging Words thrives, too, at 529 S. Wenatchee Ave. However, it sells mostly inspirational books and other items.
Hastings, the region’s largest media retailer, announced earlier this month that the troubled 123-store chain was sold to a partnership of liquidators. They intend to close all stores by Oct. 31 after selling off most of the company’s assets. Stores in Wenatchee and Moses Lake could close sooner.
Last week, Ordway set aside work for a minute to bring readers up to date (by email) on her store and its services:
Q. How long have you owned the store?
A. We celebrated our first birthday on June 1! One of my first goals was to have store walls covered in work and crafts by local artist, and that goal has been reached. There are over 20 pieces of art on the walls by local artists like Angie Brown, Donnie Johnson, Brian Mitchell and Frank Cone.
Q. How many books do you have in stock?
A. On the floor for sale … probably about 80,000, with a few thousand more waiting to be priced and a couple thousand more duplicates in back for fast moving authors.
Q. Are they all used? Or do you carry some new books?
A. Currently, a vast majority of our books are used. Of course, some are well loved, while others have probably never been opened. The only new books we carry at this time are by local authors.
Q. Can customers order new or used books through your store?
A. Absolutely! I can order both used or new books. I order from other used bookstores like mine whenever possible. However. if someone wants a new copy I can do that also. Special orders do need to be prepaid.
Q. What are your most popular sections? How many sections do you have?
A. Close to 65 different sections! Some of the most popular are sci-fi, young adult, classics and children’s.
Q. What have you learned about the book business that you find surprising, or satisfying, or amazing?
A. I haven’t owned any business or even worked in a bookstore before. I did love to volunteer in libraries growing up, though. I must have read every book in the Chelan library and once got locked in the Wenatchee library. I was curled up in a corner reading a book. Once I realized I was locked in, I sat back down and finished my book then found a back door I could get out of and made sure it was locked up tight before leaving. This was back in the 80s before cell phones and alarms.
I love the customers; bookstore people are just amazing. It’s like having an extended family. I have a few customers who have been known to wander for a couple hours, have even found one napping with a book in his lap.
The most pleasant surprise is the number of young readers, and how well read they are. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing kids thrilled to get anything from one book to an armload. Really makes my day when we have to guess at the price because the kid has started reading the book and we don’t want to interrupt them (to check the price on the book).
Q. What’s the quirkiest thing about your store?
A. We have two hidden rooms behind bookshelves. We’ve gotten into one, and it’s good-sized. The other is still behind a full bookshelf. We hope to be able to see what is back there soon.
Also, on Fridays and Saturdays you can find Donnie Johnson in our store. He’s a local artist who also does psychic readings and Reiki treatments by appointment.
And we now offer free coffee in the store!