Wordsmith Bookshoppe will host its grand opening this Saturday, August 24, at 235 E. Main Street in downtown Galesburg, Ill. Owner Teri Parks told the Register-Mail: "Our vision is to take care of the community, to reach out to the community as much as we can--to have events and programs happening in our store on almost a daily basis and to just service the community with their literary needs."
When plans for the new bookshop were announced earlier this summer, Parks--the former store manager for Book World Inc. in West Burlington, Iowa, which closed in 2018--said that she and co-owner John Parks were "so excited to bring our passion about books back to the West Central Illinois region. We look forward to supporting Galesburg and the surrounding communities through our services, building relationships, cross-business promotions, community involvement projects and humanitarian efforts."
Wordsmith Bookshoppe has 2,100 square feet of retail space, 85% of which will be devoted to books, the Register-Mail wrote, adding that business will not be stocking items that are not literary-related. Instead of carrying "touristy-type gifts" about Galesburg and the region, Parks wants to honor the shop's motto: "We Cater to Book Lovers."
"I think most people when they hear the concept of an indie bookstore, they think of walking into a small shop with a few bookshelves and then a lot of gifts to help supplement that," she observed. "And that really is not what our focus is; our focus is on book inventory and magazines, and then we'll have just a few literary-themed gifts."
She also noted that above all, she wants to engage with the community by building relationships with her customers: "With us, what I think is going to set us apart is our superior customer service. You know when you walk into a big chain store or a big-box store--like Walmart or Target or any place like that--you're not going to get the personalized customer service, and that's the one thing that we hope to really excel at.... Our goal is to be the largest independent bookstore in Midwest Illinois."