Celebrating Independents

We support local independent retailers all year round–not just during “Indie Month”. IMG_2108_2
This week we shopped at Parkplace Books in Kirkland, Washington.

When you shop at a national chain store, 80% of the money leaves town immediately, according to Independent Retailer Month. Big box retailers are even worse. In contrast, when you shop at an independent store, most of the money keeps circulating in the community, providing jobs and funding local causes and media.

Our niece is an avid reader, and we needed the perfect present. Rebecca & Mary, the proprietors of Parkplace Books, can tell you why the birthday girl will like young adult author Blue Balliett. They can tell you how Balliett’s first book Chasing Vermeer started as stories for her elementary students, and about the time Balliett read in their store. If Parkplace doesn’t have the book you need, they can get it for you in a day or two. It costs the same if you order the book online, but when you buy from your local bookstore, you are sharing the love of reading so many more ways.


Hearthside Taught Us How to Work



Juneau, Alaska is an unusual place for lots of reasons. Just a few:

  1. One of the few cities in the world with a glacier in its back yard.
  2. World record for most rope skips while keeping a football in the air (126 in one minute, achieved by Peter Nestler).
  3. Per capita independent bookstores.

OK, so Publishers Weekly only looks at the figures state by state, giving the top spot to Montana — 1 independent per 15,705 inhabitants.  Juneau, population 32,556, has two bookstores, which must put it as a city in the same uber-reader league as the state of Montana. You can thank Hearthside Books for those two well-stocked Juneau bookstores. Specifically, you can thank two wonderful women, Susan Hickey and Deb Reifenstein, who opened the first Hearthside store downtown in 1976. Soon they added a second store in the Mendenhall Valley, and Hearthside has been a fixture of Juneau culture ever since. Susan & Deb helped launch us in the world; we both worked for them.

Now Hearthside carries our edible greetings… feels like coming home.