Ogden, Utah’s Historic 25th Street to Welcome New Bookstore

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Marcy Taylor Rizzi will launch Booked on 25th, a new and used bookstore in Ogden, Utah, with a July 9 grand opening celebration featuring a diverse lineup of local authors. The lifelong Ogden resident’s work as a former correctional officer with the county sheriff’s department lends a unique twist to her new venture as a bookseller.

“My whole entire life has been books and literature, even when I was working in corrections. It didn’t matter what side of the bars you were on,” she said. “There were plenty of people who enjoyed a good book. In fact, the best books that were ever recommended to me came from inmates, not my fellow officers.” Among Rizzi’s favorite literary genres are gothic literature, such as The Monk and Frankenstein, and philosophical works by Bertrand Russell and Theodor Adorno.

Another connection with Rizzi’s law enforcement past is her store’s name: Booked on 25th is a pun on the storefront’s location, Ogden’s infamous 25th Street, which, in the earlier part of the 20th century was “a rough-and-tumble, crazy outlaw place with opium dens, brothels, underground tunnels, and bootleggers,” allegedly even too rough for legendary Prohibition-era gangster Al Capone, she said.

In Booked on 25th’s 1,080-square-foot space, Rizzi will feature 50 percent new and 50 percent used books displayed on bookshelves commissioned from a local carpenter. “I’m trying to use as many local merchants as I possibly can, even with my website design,” she said.

Rizzi worked with Weber State University’s Small Business Development Center to formulate her business plan for the store, which she is funding as a personal investment. She has also reached out to connect with Historic 25th Street, the local downtown business association.

Marcy Taylor Rizzi

Rizzi’s line-up of local authors for the July 9 grand opening reflects the vibrant literary community in Ogden, she said. The list includes Jordan Bell, author of the debut techno-thriller novel Dreamwake, which was published by Glass Spider Publishing, a new local press; Alison McLennan, author of Ophelia’s War: The Secret Story of a Mormon Turned Madam (Five Star Publishing); and Liz Kay, who will read from her debut novel Monsters: A Love Story, which was chosen as a summer beach read by Harper’s Bazaar and the Associated Press.

In addition, Kase and Janica Johnstun from local arts group PoetFlow will be stationed outside the store to perform spoken word, and the Banyan Collective, a local news podcast, will be recording at the store. So far, 400 people have RSVPed to the opening event.

“I can’t explain how many people have been reaching out to me every day,” said Rizzi, who has received numerous special book orders before the store has even opened. “If everything is where it needs to be before July 9, then I’ll do a soft opening before the grand opening. Having the practice would be great before the big rush.”

Booked on 25th will cater to everyone and will be a place where everybody’s opinion is welcome, she added.

“In Ogden we never really had a bookstore with events for the writing community, so really this is just a community landing spot for all things literary,” said Rizzi, who noted that Ogden is also home to Deseret Book, a Mormon-owned bookstore.

“In terms of non-book items, I will be carrying the Unemployed Philosophers Guild, bath and beauty products made by a local craftsperson, and repair kits for bikes, since the mountain biking community here is huge,” she said.

To prepare for her new venture, Rizzi read Paz and Associates’ Owning a Bookstore, which she said was very helpful; she also reached out to Anne Holman, manager of The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, for guidance.

“In February, as I was writing my business plan, I thought it would be advantageous to sit down with another bookseller in Utah. I know Salt Lake City is a different animal, but I thought that was a smart thing to do,” said Rizzi.

“When I went to visit, Anne spent hours with me and has been mentoring me ever since. To be honest, she has held my hand throughout this whole process,” Rizzi said, including making introductions to publisher sales reps and suggesting Rizzi join ABA.