10 East Bridge Street
Rockford, MI 49341
As you know, I am a retired high school librarian. But I didn't start that career until I was almost 50 years old. I had a variety of careers before that: I worked in office automation support when word processing was in its infancy. I taught English and Interpersonal Communications at a small business college. Later I worked for a major data processing company. It wasn't until 2001 that I began the best career I ever had in a small high school library, a wonderful epilogue to a varied work life. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting a couple embarking on an epilogue career of their own. Last July Pat and Valerie Burkholder opened a bookstore in Rockford, Michigan, less than half an hour from my house. The name of their new shop? Epilogue Books, of course.
|Store owners, Pat and Valerie Burkholder|
Valerie had a long career in the pharmaceutical business, and Pat worked in business management followed by a 12-year stint as a middle school science teacher. Both have always loved bookstores, and owning one was a dream of Valerie's, so now Pat can put his business knowledge to use once again.
Situated along the wooded shore of the lovely Rogue River, Epilogue Books takes full advantage of the beautiful setting with relaxed patio seating just outside the back door along a riverwalk at the water's edge. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.
Walking in the front door, patrons are treated to a cheery space with bright white shelves filled with an impressive selection of books, plus eye-catching displays of cards, gifts, glassware, coasters, and a variety of unique items. I shopped for more than books on this trip.
The brightest spot in the store is the fantastic children's section. With a barn door and colorful mural as a backdrop, what child could resist sitting down in one of the pint-sized chairs to browse one of the many titles for the younger set.
Toward the back of the store is a coffee counter, a beverage cooler, and a card table surrounded by comfy-looking chairs that beckon puzzle enthusiasts to sit a spell and contribute to the completion of a jigsaw puzzle in progress.
As luck would have it, on the day of my visit, an author event was scheduled featuring local writer D. A. Reed. Coincidentally, I had met Ms. Reed just a few weeks prior in Montague on Independent Bookstore Day. (See my post about that event.) It was great to see her again and purchase another one of her books.
Gregarious owners, delightful children's section, and a beautiful setting are all part of the charm of Epilogue Books. But I have to admit that perhaps my favorite part of the store is the friendly bookstore dog, Tommy. Like me, he is a Michigan State Spartans fan with a neckerchief to prove it. And he's named after my favorite coach in the world, Tom Izzo. How great is that?
Pat and Valerie seem to be off to a good start in their epilogue career. I wish them well, and I'm sure this won't be the last time I'll be visiting Epilogue Books.