Community breathes new life into bookstore

Lindon Bookstore is rewriting how an independent, community bookstore operates – with the emphasis on community.

“We are here because of community members,” said Robin Buckingham, who was on the verge of closing the Enumclaw bookstore’s doors until four Plateau area residents stepped up and bought into the business.

Buckingham, who along with her daughter Brianne Kuhle has owned the store for the past five years, said the bookstore had been for sale and did receive some interest, but the economy wasn’t buyer-friendly.

The economy has not been book-buyer friendly, either.

“Like every other business in town we had to find a way to survive in this economy, and that bridge closure, that was terrible,” Buckingham said, referring to the country’s recession and the six-month closure of the Kummer Bridge that links Enumclaw to Black Diamond and Maple Valley.

“We had this opportunity to keep it open rather do that than close it down,” she said. “We thought what a huge loss it would be to the community if it went away.”

Lindon Bookstore has been a Cole Street fixture for 25 years and was Cole Street Books even before becoming Lindon. But it’s more than a bookstore, Buckingham noted, it also serves as a space to meet, talk about ideas and participate in community.

“A huge factor would have to be controlling costs,” she said.

A smaller space would help. It showed up a door away when Scrapbook Corner, 500 fewer square feet than its previous location, went out of business.

“Unfortunately, somebody else’s misfortune was our fortune,” Buckingham said.

Patrons will still find bestsellers, cookbooks, hardbacks, local authors and children’s books, as well as novelty gifts and cards. The checkerboard made the move, as did the espresso counter. And Buckingham and Kuhle are greeting customers, building stock and taking orders and shipping them for customers who don’t find the read they want.

But, Buckingham said independent community bookstores have always had it tough. She said they face an uphill battle against on-line, e-book and non-traditional book sales and she doesn’t expect change overnight.

“The economy is still determining how things will go,” she said. “But, like anything, we need the support of community.”

So, in addition to those who saved the bookstore, others can purchase membership in the Lindon Community Club as well.

Memberships start at a single, one person, for $35 a year to $500 a year, with levels in between. The Lindon Communit Club is also offering a $1,000 three-year option and a one-time $5,000 membership. At each level, members will receive discounts, advanced notices and invitations to special events.

To celebrate its revival, the Lindon Bookstore will host a grand reopening Saturday with local authors Joni Sensel, Peg Kehret and Mandy Hubbard.

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