TRUCKEE, CALIF. — Bookworms rejoice! Truckee is about to have its own bookstore again.
When The Bookshelf closed its doors for good last month, ending a years-long struggle to keep the local business afloat, the town and North Lake Tahoe region was left without any shop dedicated to our favorite medium — print.
Lucky for those literary types, two local women have stepped up to change that by opening their own bookstore, Word After Word Bookshop, in the heart of downtown Truckee.
“Honestly I sat there for a good year … hoping somebody would come in and be the book fairy,” said Word After Word co-owner Andie Keith. “Finally my husband was like, ‘I think it’s you. I think you’re supposed to do this.’”
Keith met business partner Nicolle Sloan through their shared desire to make sure the town wasn’t without a bookstore. They both moved to the region a few years ago with their families.
“We knew when we got this space that Commercial Row was really important for us because we want to be a bookstore for the community and a bookstore for locals — but you’ve got to be financially viable in order to that.” Keith said. “You can’t survive in the down season with just locals and being in some corner of town — it doesn’t work.”
Both Keith and her business partner, Sloan, live in the Truckee region and have children in local schools, which makes it easy to understand why they’ve dedicated an entire corner of the store to kids-friendly titles and gifts.
“Because we have five kids between the two of us and have lots of friends with kids, we got a lot of feedback from the local community that there are a lot of parents who wanted a kids section and a teen section and a parenting section.” Keith said.
The shop is small — less than 1,000 square feet. It’s nestled in Commercial Row between Uncorked and Truckee Tavern, in the site once occupied by Truckee Shoe Company. And before that, in the early ‘90s, it was the site of a propane tank explosion.
Keith said that Sloan’s prior experience working in a bookstore in Vail, Colo., pairs with her own love for books and design. The interior of Word After Word reflects this synergy.
“We’re going for kind of an old Paris bookstore feel,” Keith said. “But with a modern vibe.”
Though small, the interior doesn’t feel cramped, but rather airy and energetic. It’s intimate without feeling cramped.
“Our focus is local — local history, local outdoors, local nature, environment, best sellers, obviously, that people want to read, and some quirky stuff that we just think is really fun.” Keith said. “… And we can special order anything that anybody wants and get it here in two days.”
Word After Word will only carry new inventory, but Keith said that’s because the size of the store limits their storage space. She said she’s hopeful someone will open a used bookstore in the region soon, and if they don’t, then she’d consider opening a second store with used books.
“I don’t think people open independent bookstores because they’re looking to make money, because they don’t usually,” Keith said. “I think people open independent bookstores for a love of books and a love of being around people who love books, and being able to provide that space.”
Word After Word Bookshop, located at 10118 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, opened Friday evening.
Though Keith said the website is still under construction, you can visit the store’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/wordafterwordbooks to learn more.
Amanda Rhoades is a news, environment and business reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at email@example.com, 530-550-2653 or @akrhoades.