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.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Books and More

Griffon Bookstore
121 W. Colfax Ave.
South Bend, IN 46601

What could be better than a pleasant drive on a sunny summer afternoon when the destination is a bookstore? When the destination is two bookstores? Even better! In a recent post I wrote about my visit to South Bend, Indiana, where I discovered Idle Hours Bookshop. (See Luck of the Irish.) As luck, Irish or otherwise, would have it, I was able to drop in briefly on another area bookseller that same afternoon. Griffon Bookstore is not your run-of-the-mill book shop, however. Like its well-known mythological namesake, this shop is a unique amalgam--part bookstore, part game store.

Board games, role-playing games, dice games, traditional strategy games, historical war games—all can be found in abundance at Griffon. In addition you'll find military uniforms, vinyl records, audio and video tapes, miniature supplies, and an assortment of curios, collectibles, and artifacts. Oh, and of course, books.

Minding the store at the time of my visit was owner Ken Peczkowski. For the past 40 years, Ken has run Griffon along with his wife, Sarah Bird. Since 1981 the store has occupied space in a historic building that housed a dry goods store in the late 1800's and, according to Ken, a flop-house hotel in the 1920's and 30's. Griffon Bookstore enjoys over 4,000 square feet of space for book, game, and merchandise sales as well as rooms for game events.

Whether you enjoy games or not, Griffon is certainly a unique and interesting shop with an eclectic variety of things to see, not the least of which is a huge selection of dice—all colors and types. Ken showed me a 100-sided die, something this non-gamer never even knew existed.

Both Ken and Sarah have teaching backgrounds; Ken holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature. The shop's new and used book selections, not surprisingly, are specialized to cover classical literature and philosophy, but mystery, thriller, and science fiction titles are also available as are some out-of-print and antiquarian books.

Accessed via stairs that run beneath a banner emblazoned with a large griffon, the shop's lower level held special interest for the history lover in me. There I enjoyed thumbing through the extensive collection of military history and reference books all displayed on pristinely organized shelves. I found three must-have titles to purchase. In another area of the lower level I was momentarily taken back to my youth while browsing the retro vinyl music offerings.

Amazingly, I lived in the South Bend area ever so briefly many years ago, yet never discovered Griffon Bookstore until this past summer. I very much enjoyed talking with Ken about the town, the store, and books. While South Bend is in the midst of renovation and changes, Griffon stands steadfast amidst the dust and rubble of construction. I wish Ken, Sarah, and Griffon Bookstore a happy 40th anniversary. May the store have many more prosperous years.

Note: Griffon has a Facebook presence.

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