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Meet BR Books

Gina Pollock
First off… Tell us about yourself.
“I am a retired attorney, mother of three, and avid book reader. I fell in love with books in elementary school, there was nothing more exciting than getting my monthly book order through Scholastic! I love getting lost in a book, I love finding out new information, and new ways of looking at things, and visiting fantastical places. It is pure joy!
In your opinion do you consider books and indie bookstore to be a ‘dying breed’?
 
“I don’t think books nor indie bookstores are a dying breed. There has been a definite culling of the indie bookstore in the past decade. However, there are die hard book lovers who will never yield to e-readers and online sources, and there are regular readers who will return to real books for the full sensory experience of reading (the feel and smell and look of words on paper). Indie bookstores will continue as long as there are real readers – for the personal touch, recommendations, author signings, and the local experience found only in brick and mortar stores. Indie bookstores are about community and community is a human need.”
 
 
Tell us the story of your story about BR Books.
BR Books started it’s life as a part of the Book Rack franchise in the 1990s. When Book Rack experienced some internal issues, the owner, Diana Long, decided to branch out on her own and created BR Books. Our store has been in the same location over 20 years! Gladys Wentz, our faithful bookseller extraordinaire, has been behind the counter offering advice and making recommendations since the beginnings of our store. In 2012, my daughter, Livie Pollock, took a part time job at the store and fell in love. She introduced the rest of our family to the store and we were hooked! When Diana expressed the desire to retire in 2013, she offered the store to us and we jumped at the chance. My husband, Ron and I dreamed of owning a used bookstore, and I was winding down my work schedule and planning to retire from the practice of law. Timing couldn’t have more perfect. I still can’t believe we own a bookstore and I get to work here among all these stories, dream come true!
 
What do you think has been your key to success for having a thriving business?
 
“Dedication, a love of reading, customer loyalty, and a staff that loves what they do. When I bought this store, my family and I were dedicated to maintaining a brick and mortar, real honest to goodness, used bookstore in our community.  I am (and will continue to be) dedicated to keeping the doors open as long as I can pay my bills.  Our customers are amazing people from all walks of life. We have regular customers who have read with us for over twenty years, who bring their children and grandchildren to the store and pass on this love. My staff and I love the bookstore experience and love this bookstore in particular, we love reading, we are friendly, the keep the store well stocked and orderly, and we enjoy coming to work! We all share a love of books, how could we not be successful?”
What do you enjoy and not enjoy about owning your own store?
 
“I enjoy the interaction with my customers and being surrounded by books. I love sharing stories and authors with people, comparing impressions about a certain books, and bringing new suggestions to my customers to expand their reading pleasure. And, of course, I love reading on the job!
 
I even like the business side of the book book business, though there are more headaches in the numbers crunching and it can bite into my family time a bit.”
 
Does owning a bookstore effect you own reading interests?
 
“Although I have always had a pretty wide range of reading interests,  I have been nudged a good deal outside my usual reading “box” since buying the store. I have sampled stories from best selling authors in genres I’m not so keen on, like romantic suspense, and caught up on some old favorites so that I can help my customers with recommendations.
 
The creation of our 50 Book Challenge has really opened up opportunities to find new authors and genres, rekindle old interests, and confirm my likes and dislikes in various genres. I don’t think I would have opened a graphic novel before the 2015 Challenge, but I got hooked on March by John Lewis and now I am open to reading more of them.
 
This year I was also honored to participate as a judge in the Hammett Prize, the award for crime fiction, which rekindled my interests in this genre. It was great to immerse myself in these books for a few months! I found a few new authors to explore and had a lot of fun reading the nominated books!”
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