‘I Am Edmonds': A personal story | Fresh Reads

By David Brewster | Aug 09, 2019

In the spirit of the Edmonds Diversity Commission’s current “I Am Edmonds” campaign on Facebook, here is another account of life in our town through the eyes of a longtime resident.

I am Edmonds Bookshop. I arrived in town in the spring of 1972, and have spent the succeeding 47 years, and counting, serving the breadth of reading tastes among our customers across several generations.

I’ve weathered more than just the Northwest weather, and the uneven business climate Edmonds has experienced due to economic, historical, and political shifts. My early challenge was the rise of mall-based chain bookstores (which are now in decline), then the onrush of online discount bookselling and digital reading.

The current climate conditions are generally mild, as my family of customers continues to grow and readers self-select how they want to read and where they want to purchase books. I continue to stand with other independent local businesses and highlight the value of local spending better benefiting the local community.

I live at 111 Fifth Ave. S, in a 1901 building that once occupied the corner of Fifth and Main, where Starbucks sits today. Along with my building, there are many other structures that date from earlier – and simpler – times, which together with newer construction make up the distinctive architectural appeal of Edmonds.

Along with my sibling businesses in downtown Edmonds – retailers, restaurants, banks, professional services – every day I strive to contribute to the appeal of our Northwest-quaint town center, and work hard to connect with folks who live in the surrounding neighborhoods as well as the many visitors Edmonds attracts.

From the earliest days, I’ve been a gathering place, a platform for culture and conversation. I am proud to be the place, along with the library and parents’ laps, of many a child’s first interest in the written word. I welcome customers of all ages and reading interests, and revel in the curiosity and intelligence of readers.

I listen as authors and artists present and discuss their work nearly every week as well as monthly as part of Art Walk Edmonds. I host or participate in special events, such as the downtown Halloween celebration, which bring readers and their families together.

I support all kinds of efforts that benefit the local community, from elementary and high school reading programs, to donations, to season sponsorships for Edmonds Center for the Arts.

I’ve brought Waldo and his friends to town every summer for the past eight years for an energetic treasure hunt among 50 or more local businesses, followed by a blowout birthday party for our red-striped friend.

Every year, I set up shop for the Write On The Sound writers conference at the Frances Anderson Center, which includes an author autograph session as one of the key events at the conference. And I’ve traveled around the region to sell books at other special events and conferences.

I carry inventory designed to appeal to many different types of readers, and what I don’t have I can usually acquire for a customer fairly quickly. I’m always happy to explain the lifespan of books and the vagaries of the publishing and bookselling businesses.

Throughout all my years in Edmonds I’ve enjoyed and appreciated the nurturing support of my customers and fellow businesses. This is a fine community to live in, and I’m proud to call it home.

For more information on the “I Am Edmonds” campaign, go to the City’s page at bit.ly/2ZGVsSE. It includes a link to the Facebook page.

 

 

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