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.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Small World

Owosso Books & More
119 W. Exchange Street
Owosso, MI 48867

"It's a small world!" 
Disney World attraction aside, the expression is ubiquitous, yet I am still taken aback when a situation occurs that brings to mind this cliché. Such was a recent experience of mine. But I am getting ahead of myself. Allow me to back up and explain.

My husband and I recently acquired a daughter-in-law. To be precise, on March 14, (appropriately, Super Pi Day, 3.14 15) my physics-major son married his physics-major sweetheart. He got a lovely wife, and we got a wonderful daughter. The couple is setting up their household in the small Michigan town of Howell between Lansing and Detroit. So on a recent sunny spring day, I embarked on a drive to visit their new digs. I decided to take the back way, always my preference, which took me along Michigan Highway 21 to the charming town of Owosso about 30 miles northeast of Lansing. Now, I don't think it will come as any surprise when I tell you that Owosso is home to a bookstore. And I was lucky enough to find a parking space right in front of Owosso Books & More.

Upon entering the store past the bistro tables on the sidewalk and a lighted "Espresso" sign in the window, I was immediately greeted by two friendly staff members, Diane and Carla, who were eager to assist me. We fell into easy conversation as they filled me in about the store, the town of Owosso, and themselves. Here's where the "small world" comes in: Carla has a daughter who lives in Lowell not a mile from my house and works for our small-town newspaper. It IS a small world after all.

Now before we all have that song stuck in our heads, let me get back to my observations of Owosso Books & More. Occupying a building that had previously housed a variety of businesses including a restaurant, a gift shop, and a music store, the bookstore has been open for about 12 years. Carla has been with the store since the original opening, and Diane joined the staff about two and a half years ago when a new owner took over.

At the front of the shop is a cozy café area with tables, benches, and chairs for enjoying a coffee beverage and free WiFi. There is also a selection of baked goods created on the premises by the owner. I can personally recommend a turtle brownie, probably the best brownie I have ever tasted. For frequent customers, the store offers discount cards for both beverages and baked goods--buy ten and the eleventh is free. What's more, between the hours of 2 and 4, there is a Happy Hour with discounts of 20 percent on goodies and beverages.

I was impressed by the large children's and YA section, which by my estimation makes up about a quarter of the store's offerings, exceeded only by a huge periodicals section. Magazines are big sellers in Owosso. The shop also stocks an array of greeting cards, bookmarks, and interesting odds and ends. I purchased a couple of crocheted catnip mice made by a local woman who even grows her own catnip.

Carla and Diane told me that Books & More does a lot of special order business. If they don't have the book you want, they will get it for you with no shipping fee. The store also offers discounts on any books currently on the New York Times bestseller list. Hardcover books are discounted at 25 percent, and paperbacks receive a 15 percent discount. There is also a discount card for book purchases.

One book I had to purchase was Arcadia Publishing's Pere Marquette 1225, the story of a restored steam locomotive built in 1937. The town of Owosso, a big part of the illustrious history of the 1225, now houses this impressive piece of locomotive history at the Steam Railroading Institute. 

Beyond its historical significance, the 1225 also has a cinematic claim to fame. It was the sound and image behind the movie, The Polar Express. More than just a museum piece, the train is fired up at Christmastime for "Polar Express" excursions to a nearby town. Sounds like a trip I might have to take next Christmas. In the meantime, I will enjoy reading about the history and restoration of the 1225.

Delicious baked goods, coffee, WiFi, unique products--all in a charming, historic country town. Yes, there is more than just books at Owosso Books & More, or as the store sign says, "Resources for the next chapter in your life." I'm happy to have discovered this delightful store, a pleasant drive away from my own small world.

On Facebook at Owosso Books & More.

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