When Jennifer Green was negotiating the lease for the bookstore she plans to open in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, she hit a lucky glitch. “The deal on our first intended location fell through after four months of negotiating, but that cloud turned out to have a silver lining,” she said. “Our current location more than doubles the square footage of the first, includes our own parking lot (which the other did not) ... and best of all, in spite of that, still costs less!” Now Green is busy remodeling the new space for Beantree Books, slated to open this June.
Hazleton needed a bookstore, said Green. “I’ve watched the annual charity, used-book sale crowds, which were always pretty big to begin with, multiply exponentially over the past couple of years. We are currently a reading market without a local supplier, and our store will meet that demand.”
The 2,200-square-foot Beantree will sell both used and new books, as well as newspapers and magazines. A gourmet coffee bar will serve fresh, locally baked pastries, and a community meeting room will be available for book clubs and writers groups. Green also plans to sell artwork and photographs by local artists and photographers on a consignment basis.
Beantree’s layout will feature a central aisle that divide the store into fiction and nonfiction books. The new books will be displayed in the center of each section, with the used books wrapping around the perimeter.
Green recently discovered a mother lode of inventory for the used books section at a local auction. Although she has not yet had a chance to inventory her entire purchase, she estimates that there are around 500 - 600 books, all in excellent condition. After purchasing the books, Green found out that they were the only possessions that “one sweet little old man” had brought along with him to a nursing home. “His room was quite tiny,” she said, “so the staff would allow him only five of his books at a time. The rest were kept back in the storage area, and the nurses would exchange those he had finished for others. It’s a wonderful story, and I feel rather privileged to have the opportunity to put each of them into the hands of someone who will love them as their original owner once did.”
For Green, who was born and raised in Hazleton, her new business “venture is about more than just selling books,” she said. “It’s about making Beantree Books an asset to our city. Our emphasis will be on listening to our customers, and focusing on making our store what they need and want it to be. Our community meeting room, for example, will be available to serve writers groups, book clubs, tutoring and study groups, and similar endeavors.”
Green is planning a combination celebration, open house, ribbon-cutting ceremony for Beantree’s June grand opening. There will be food, music, giveaways, and readings by local writers.