About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Froggin' Around

Bluefrog Books
3615 E. Grand River Ave.
Howell, MI 48843

A sunny day, a pleasant drive, and discovering another bookstore--it just doesn't get much better than that, unless of course you discover two great bookstores in one day. In my last post I gave an account of my stop at Owosso Books & More on my way to visit my son and daughter-in-law in their new home in Howell, Michigan. As luck would have it, Howell is home to a great bookstore of its own, and my daughter-in-law, Alysandra, was happy to check it out with me while we waited for my son, Culver, to get home from work. After a quick stop at the town library (possibly a future blog post), we headed out to Bluefrog Books.

When a vacant spot in a strip mall became available, Rob Vedro and his sister-in-law, Penny Coleman, jumped on the opportunity to replace what was once a wine shop with Bluefrog Books. Penny had always wanted to own a bookstore, and Rob had experience managing a business, so it was a perfect partnership. Rob greeted us enthusiastically when we entered the store while his helper, Shelby, a local high school senior, was busily engaged with large stacks of books behind the big green and blue front desk.

Open since February, 2014, Bluefrog derives its name from an old Peter, Paul, and Mary song. Rob explained that the song holds special meaning for his wife and sister-in-law. When they were just starting to play guitar in their youth, it was the first song they learned.

Decked out in bright green and blue everywhere, the store is a cheery, happy place with a fun-things-happen-here vibe. My conversation with Rob indicated that my first impression was accurate. Fun things do indeed happen here. Bluefrog facilitates a book club, and a second club uses the store as a meeting place. All book club books are 20 percent off, and any book club that elects to buy their club books from Bluefrog also receives the discount.

On Fridays the store holds a story time for children. There is a writing group starting up as well, and Rob is planning to add a poetry night. He says he wants to create a space for artistic people to get together and exchange ideas. To that end the store also hosts frequent author visits and speakers. Rob's goal is to do 200 events a year.

In addition to fun things to do, the store has plenty of fun things to buy, or as the shelf label says, "Cool Stuff." With unique coasters, mugs, puzzles, magic tricks, and travel games, to name just a few, Bluefrog is a fun place to browse. In addition to a book for my son, I picked up a Bluefrog mug, which I had to persuade Rob to sell to me after I spotted it in a display on a top shelf. Seems it was for a special promotion and was the last one he had. And I couldn't resist an adorable set of shot glasses that resemble tiny Mason jars, perfect for cottage drinkware.

Of course there are plenty of bookshelves to browse, decorated with an array of literal blue frogs--stuffed frogs, ceramic frogs, and smiling frogs on signs. Charming blue frogs are everywhere. While most of the books are new, there is a bargain section featuring used books at the front of the store. Paperbacks in great condition can be had for as little as a dollar.

A rather unique feature of Bluefrog is its photo department. Rob can convert old photos and slides to digital format, do digital enhancements, and also create photo greeting cards, collages, canvas prints, and posters. He says, "Think of us as the computer guy in the family." He can also do data backup and duplication of camera cards, cell phone photos, and flash drives as well as audio cassette tape to CD or MP3 conversion.

Books, photo services, cool stuff, and a variety of events. Things are really hoppin' at Bluefrog Books. This store demands a second visit, and with my son and his new wife living in town, I imagine I'll have plenty of opportunities to do just that. Next time we'll have to bring my son along.

Find Bluefrog Books on Facebook at: facebook.com/BlueFrogBooks

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