A place to relax, read a book, knit a row or two

Owen Lubbers has brought his Books and Co. to Quesnel

Owen Lubbers is pleased with the initial response to his new retail outlet in Quesnel.

When Granville’s owner Ted Martindale spoke with Prince George’s Books & Co. owner Owen Lubbers about the possibility of opening another branch of his business in Quesnel, Lubbers gave it serious consideration. Over a six month period this year, he spent many hours in Quesnel, assessing the business prospects.

To sweeten the deal, Martindale promised to establish a Grandville’s coffee shop in any future Books & Co. in Quesnel.

Lubbers was initially an employee of the 25-year-old business Books & Co. in Prince George and when the owner (and Lubber’s uncle) was looking to retire, Owen recognized the opportunity and jumped on it. Books & Co. in Prince George also has a coffee shop within the business.

In looking at potential locations, Lubbers and Martindale chose the former Spa Rivier location with its two-floor configuration. This prompted Lubbers to speak to fellow business people Alanna Siemens and Darlene Shatford who run a successful yarn shop in Prince George.

He invited them to consider second floor space, which they agreed to.

“We’re on the second floor in our Prince George Top Drawer Yarn Studio and the configuration is almost identical in Quesnel,” Siemens said.

“I think residents in Quesnel will be thrilled we’re here.”

The seed for their Prince George business was a desire to access high-end fibres for personal reasons which evolved to a store-front operation.

Both long-time knitters, their shop in Prince George is a hub for the community and also a cultural destination for other fibre artists and craftspeople.

“We’re looking at starting knitting classes and possibly other types of classes in the new year,” Siemens added.

Books and Co. has been open in Quesenel for about a month.

“We’re more than just a book store,” Lubbers said.

“We’re also a hub for the community. We’ll

be setting up book clubs, reading sessions and the coffee shop is a natural blend with a book store.”

He also said he’s looking to cultivate a relationship with local authors. Books & Co. already carries one Quesnel author, Ed Zaruk and Lubbers is looking to add more.

“So far it’s been great, with great feedback,” he said.

The business owners are impressed with Quesnel’s downtown location.

They agreed it has terrific walkability.

Lubbers said Books & Co. will carry all genres and, despite constantly evaluating his stock, he realizes people sometime request books he doesn’t carry.

“I’ll do my best to order in anything a customer requests,” he said.

Siemens and Shatford said special orders are a major part of their business as well.

“We’ve built our business on special orders and many of the stock we carry was a result of special orders,” Shatford said.

With their second-floor location, Siemens said they are happy to offer first-floor service for those who find the stairs challenging.

That service has proven very popular in their Prince George shop.

However, the second floor also offers, not only a discounted book section, but a quiet, relaxing area where people can kick back with a  Granville’s coffee, peruse a tantalizing book or visit with friends – quite unusual for a retail outlet, but certainly a nice addition to the three-business operation.

Each business is a separate entity but they share the rent and utilities costs.

Top Drawer Yarn Studio is looking to draw on the creative community, including outlying areas such as Wells.

“We believe there’s a strong arts community here,” Shatford said.

Their business carries primarily boutique, hand dyed and mostly natural fibres, many of which

are imported from Europe.

“Cashmire wool is one of our most luxurious fibres,” Siemens said.

Although both businesses have their primary locations in Prince George, they expect to spend a lot of time in Quesnel as well as having hired knowledgeable, capable staff.

Located in busy downtown Quesnel, Granville’s coffee shop, Books & Co. and Top Drawer Yarn Studio are looking forward to a long and successful relationship with the community and invites the public to drop by 371 Reid St., see what they are selling and enjoy a coffee and conversation.

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