BAXTER -- Book World opened last month in time for holiday shoppers with a literary bent.
The store opened in space vacated by the River Nith Coffee and Books store in early May. Altering the way the book stacks are designed visually doubled the book displays in the bookstore within the Westgate Mall in Baxter.
Liz Hassler, who worked at River Nith Coffee and Books for 9 1/2 years, is Book World's manager. She said she is optimistic about the bookstore's ability to survive in this market with the lakes area population.
"I think Brainerd can support a bookstore and I think Brainerd needs a bookstore," Hassler said last week.
The bookstore opened Nov. 3, which presented its own complications of training the nine-member staff on a new computer system in time for one of the busiest shopping days of the season -- the day after Thanksgiving.
"It's been kind of a challenge opening up at this time of year," Hassler said.
Several of the employees will be familiar faces to customers of the River Nith Coffee and Books.
Book World, with a home office in Appleton, Wis., was founded almost 25 years ago with its first store in Wisconsin. The store in the mall is the company's first enterprise in Minnesota and the book chain's 35th store. The company, owned by William Streur, also has stores in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
When the bookstore announced its move to Brainerd, Kathleen Ludden, Book World vice president in charge of store operations, said Streur was familiar with the Brainerd lakes area and he thought it would be a good location.
The store is a full-service bookstore with hardcovers, videos, paperbacks and 3,300 magazine titles. Special orders are made at no extra charge to customers. Hassler said the store does a large number of special orders for books.
In addition, the bookstore has a full-service tobacco counter with pipes, imported cigars and imported cigarettes and a walk-in humidor, a case for storing cigars where the air is kept properly humidified.
Hassler said the tobacco counter has been slow, but she thought the sales would pick up as more people realize the tobacco products are there.
Future plans include increasing inventory, including the regional writers' section. Hassler said that is one of the big projects after Christmas along with other promotions with readers and writers.
"I'd like to do a number of author signings," Hassler said.
The bookstore is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
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