Last fall, my family took a trip to Illinois. Part of our trip was in the Chicago area, where we each got to do something fun. My pick was to travel to Evanston to visit the Page 1 Books store. I like to visit independent stores whenever I travel, and I had been following them on Instagram for a while.
Page 1 Books started (and still is) a subscription service where you give them a list of books you have enjoyed and then they send you a surprise book that you might enjoy. You can also order books through their store, bookish goodies, or a little of both in some of their book bundles.
When I visited their store on my trip, it was the most magical experience. The store is nestled in a quaint row of shops. As I stepped in, I was pulled into the pictures I had seen on their Instagram. Quotes on the wall, books on the shelves, even the sweet little kids section. I was a total fangirl.
Then, I met Brandy, the owner, who was just as awesome in person. We talked for a bit, took pictures, and then something magical happened.
I knew I was going to buy a book. That was something I did any time I visited an independent bookstore. Brandy offered to help me decide. I talked about some of the books I had read recently that I really enjoyed. I was skimming the shelves as I talked. There were several books on the shelves that I thought might be interesting, but nothing seemed to be just right.
I had been reading books about books and bookstores, really enjoying this niche genre of sorts. That’s when Brandy opened drawer in the shelves and pulled out the book that was sitting by itself, Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay. Not only did it fit what I was looking for subject-wise, but it took place in Evanston, the perfect souvenir book for this special trip.
Like many, many other small businesses, Page 1 Books had to close its doors to the public due to social distancing. You can still purchase bookish goodies and subscriptions on their site. And you can also purchase books as well through Bookshop.org. But because of this pandemic, they are still struggling to make ends meet. That’s where we can make a difference. Here’s Brandy with more:
Don’t forget those businesses that made a difference when you walked through their doors. Whether you order delivery from the local restaurants, or purchase gift cards at your favorite shops, you can make a difference. This whole experience has opened my eyes, and it’s changed how I will purchase things in the future. Not just in books, although let’s be honest, that’s where most of my money goes!
Do you have any favorite small businesses? How is everyone holding up?