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I'm the Local Gal in Richmond, Indiana, exploring my hometown and heart. I write about all thing local, sometimes global. It's a small world after all.

Monday, April 29, 2013

What's Behind That Window?

A Charming Display

Two Sisters Books & More!

My family has come across a few rather intriguing, unfamiliar places about town. How many times do we pass by a window, wonder what could be inside and yet move on in a hurried fashion? In an effort to slow down and get to know Richmond, the Local-Lady blog will be posting an occasional "What's Behind That Window?" post.

Today's will be the first! We discovered one window in particular that seemed magnetized each time we passed by it: Two Sister's Books & More. Local-Lady is pleased to introduce you to one of the most darling spots to shop in town! I was delighted to chat with the owners! Kate answered all of my questions. Here we go:

How did you come to own a shop in Richmond and what keeps you living and loving this corner of the world?

Kate and Patty are the two sisters.
"My sister Patty and I grew up in Centerville.  It’s a great place in which to grow up, but there wasn’t a whole lot to keep people around who aren’t actively raising families, and when we were young we couldn’t wait to get out of Wayne County and start living.  The Depot District has some amazing buildings and a fascinating history, but when we were in high school and even college the only place to hang out was Charlie’s.  The District is starting to grow and develop now, and we wanted to be on the ground floor.  We believe that our bookstore provides the community with one of those features they’d find in a big city, thus helping attract and keep young talent in the area."

Why is the shop called Two Sisters? 
A Cozy Book Nook

"Well, the slightly sarcastic answer is that there are two of us, and we’re sisters.  More creatively, when designing the store we wanted it to feel like the sort of old bookstore you’d find if you happened to be backpacking through the English countryside.  We’ve done a lot inside the store to convey that, from the bookshelves our father custom-built to the period-accurate paint on the walls.  We thought The Two Sisters sort of sounded like the name of a pub you might frequent if you wore argyle and could pronounce Benedict Cumberbatch's name without snickering."

What's the story behind the book shop? Childhood dream? Spur of the moment decision?

"Like all good things, the bookstore was both a childhood dream and a spur of the moment decision.  I had always wanted to own a bookstore called Ragueneau’s, after the bibliophile baker in Cyrano de Bergerac.  It was one of those things that I’d talk about doing when I had a lot of money, which has never happened.  Last summer, I had quit my job teaching high school English and my sister had graduated from college.  Neither of us were finding work in a timely fashion, and 193 Fort Wayne Avenue happened to have a “For Rent” sign in the window.  It was our father who seriously suggested we open the business and did a lot of the legality and monetary research for us.   Whether we become a fixture in the community or a miserable failure, we can officially cross this one off the bucket list.

Your shop is located in the Historic Depot district. What drew you to this particular area?

Depot Street View in Spring
The Depot District has a great opportunity to quickly become the trendiest place in town.  On several occasions we’ve had customers remark to us that walking through the Depot District reminded them of this little neighborhood they loved in some much larger city.  In addition, the owners of Depot and downtown businesses really work together to develop and support the community.  We’ve felt very welcome here, and we cannot wait to watch the area grow."

You have book clubs! What kind of events are happening in your space?

"Our Solarium is a room in the back of the store that’s free for anyone who wants to reserve it for meetings and/or parties. We currently have two clubs that meet there regularly: Cognoscenti SteamPunk Society and The Not-So-Young-Adult Book Club.  More information about them can be found on our website.

We also frequently have local authors like Steve Martin and David Hughes in to do book signings.  On May 18th, Tom Everhart will be in to talk about his book 0-60 in Five Minutes: My Stroll Through Rock-n-Roll Music.  

In the future we’re looking to have story hours, classes, and many other events.  Sign up for our mailing list on our website or follow us on Facebook to keep in the loop!"

You have tea! Tell me about your special blends, please?

"As stated earlier, we wanted our store to have an English feel, and being tea drinkers with no local tea rooms we started making our own blends for the store with the idea of having each one be in honor of a specific author, character, book, or genre. For example, our Literary Heroes tea is in honor of characters such as Mr. Darcy and Mr. Rochester and is made of Earl Grey plus Vanilla and Cinnamon. This adds a touch of class to an already classy tea. We offer tins of loose-leaf teas for $10, individual cups of tea for $2, and tea accessories such as teapots, teacups, and infusers. We also have a special offer for groups in which they can learn about blending teas and then create their own unique blend."

Darlene Frame, Local Poet
Thank you Kate and Patty! We can't wait to watch your business grow, and we'll be back for books, book club, events, tea and more!

My family had an excellent time browsing the shop Saturday. I was lucky enough to catch a local author, Darlene Frame, doing a promo for her book of poetry I Always Do Laundry on Monday. The book is published through a local publisher, Kids at Heart Publishing, LLC. All proceeds of her book go to help a friend in need of a kidney. I can't wait to snag a copy of her heartwarming poems for myself along with an extra! What a sweet edition of poems (just in time for Mother's Day!).

If you haven't been already, it's about time you step inside their quaint shop chock full of books: old and new, something for everybody, each book is a portal waiting to take you to a new world. 

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