Although Stillwater has a few outlets for used books, many readers have missed the experience of wandering through a full-service book store since Hastings Entertainment closed its doors in the fall of 2016.
Bliss Books & Bindery plans to fill that void when it opens as a community bookstore at 118 E. 9th Ave. in the ground floor commercial space below the Ninth Street Lofts.
Owner Roger Mullins says the shop’s name was inspired by a Joseph Campbell quote his wife has always loved, “Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid.”
Bliss is also the name of the beloved canine companion Mullins calls his best friend.
Either way, it’s an inspiring name for the business Mullins and his wife Patricia have dreamed of opening for years.
They’ve talked about it off and on and he actually ran a small used book store when they lived in California. Roger has been gathering old and rare books and other collectibles for years.
“I never really got away from books,” he said.
It’s one of three new businesses opening on the block east of Main Street this summer. Balance Coffee Co. and WorkIT co-working space are expected to open by early August. Bliss Books & Bindery hopes to follow shortly after with a mid-September opening date.
Mullins thinks the new additions coupled with existing businesses like Stillwater Antique Mall, Dibble & Son Furniture and Photo Art Gallery and Formal Fantasy, should give the block enough of a business presence to attract the foot traffic and awareness the merchants need to be successful.
Mullins has started a Kickstarter campaign to get the working capital he needs to establish accounts with booksellers. He says at first new book sellers have pay up front when they place orders.
“They don’t give credit to newbies,” he said.
Mullins says he has already invested $24,000 of his own money and the store will open whether or not the Kickstarter campaign is successful. It just might take longer to offer the full range of merchandise he envisions.
The shop will host events like readings, book signings and story times and will offer letterpress printing services and bindery and book repair services.
Mullins says he also plans to display the work of local artists and sell hand-crafted items from local artisans.
It’s important to him that the shop represent the community.
“We want to have a comfortable place where everyone feels welcome,” he said.
For more information on Bliss Books & Bindery, follow the shop on Facebook. Mullins gives an overview of his vision for the shop on his Kickstarter project page at http://kck.st/2rOMwJa.