Finally Found Books in Auburn, Washington, is donating $30,000 in store gift certificates to 3,000 local educators. Owner Todd Hulbert said he is giving every teacher in the area’s two school districts a $10 gift certificate to help with classroom expenses. “Mainly, I want to help out the educators who spend so much out of pocket each year. Teachers have it hard and they don’t have enough financial support from the district. It’s not a lot but this is what we can give,” he said.
Teachers from the Kent and Auburn districts have already come in to redeem their gift certificates to purchase children’s books for their classroom libraries. Most of the gift certificates were delivered late last week but not all have made it out yet. “The community has been great and supportive about what we’re doing and the districts are ecstatic to receive our gift,” said Hulbert, adding, “We want a literate world” and key to that is helping the kids.
Finally Found Books, which was previously located in Black Diamond, Washington, and named Baker Street Bookstore, was 18 years old when Hulbert took over and rechristened it. A little over a year later, in July 2013, he closed up shop and moved the store to Auburn to take advantage of better business opportunities. The high-traffic, high-exposure location in Auburn attracted more interest in the store’s large selection of new and used books encompassing more than 60 categories. The area is home to one other independent bookstore, Comstock’s Bindery and Bookshop, and Hulbert said the two bookstores work closely to promote each other and to familiarize customers with other local independent businesses.
Hulbert, who came to bookselling with a background in online sales and experience running his own business for many years, offers many different programs and events at the store to foster literacy as well as to get the community involved in fun ways. Finally Found hosts events for local authors, such as book launches and signings, but also invites the public in to express themselves through poetry readings and open mic nights. Hulbert also invites local artists to display their work in the store.
With Finally Found’s donation to educators, Hulbert hopes to inspire other local businesses to contribute to the community. “I challenge local businesses to follow along,” he said. “I challenge everybody to help out their community and local schools as much as they can. They need our help.”