A Pennsylvania Bookstore With a Mission

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Five Stone Bookstore, located in the Lebanon Valley Mall, is slated to open April 30.

Bryan Foster, a retired senior logistician for the United States Army, has joined forces with fellow book lover T. Charles “Chuck” Garman to open a bookstore in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Five Stone Bookstore, which is slated to open April 30 in a former Waldenbooks location, will have a strong community focus and a mission to help those in need.

Garman, who has a background in graphic arts and marketing, ran a turnkey calendar shop during the holiday season in the same space the bookstore now occupies. Foster often helped out, and the two would constantly hear customers asking for books, which they took as a clear sign that there was a market for a new bookstore.

“This started as a tale of Kismet,” said Foster, who was originally supposed to play “matchmaker” for Garman and another friend who wanted to open a bookstore. Ultimately, that arrangement didn’t work out, so Foster stepped in, and the two found they make great business partners.

“I’m a believer that an 80 percent perfect plan done quickly is much better than a 100 percent perfect plan done too late,” Foster said. “Chuck is much more on the other side of the equation. We balance each other well. I get him to get moving on ideas that aren’t perfect and he gets me to plan a little more before executing.”

Foster and Garman plan to make Five Stone a focal point for the community and hope to get as many local book lovers involved as possible. When Foster brought his ideas to the local library, everyone there was very receptive. “As I was walking to the director’s office, I could hear a very unlibrary-like murmur growing behind me,” he said.

Five Stone will feature a section devoted to local libraries. The bookstore will sell books that have been donated by the community, with the proceeds going toward the Lebanon Library. The store will also be accepting monetary donations for books that the library would like to carry.

The bookstore is located in the Lebanon Valley mall, and will be holding a soft opening on April 30. The grand opening, on May 5, will coincide with the mall’s largest event, Lebanon Idol (a takeoff of American Idol), which is expected to bring in a lot of traffic.

At the store’s grand opening, Foster and Garman will be promoting a national charity with headquarters in the area that helps children in sub-Saharan Africa who are living with HIV/AIDS. Foster is working to schedule a children’s author event and has arranged for the nearby Kid’s Club store to host a related activity.

This event, like the majority of Five Stone’s future events adheres to its mission statement, which is, “Our business is selling books; our mission is helping people,” said Foster.