Webster Groves Bookshop Comes Back

New owner says a kind remark from her husband got her started

Kevin Killeen
October 02, 2018 - 4:54 pm

Kevin Killeen/KMOX

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WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. (KMOX) - Something her husband said got the whole thing started. 

Cheryl Bartnett says they were on a walk one night in 2017, looking into the window at the empty shelves of the old Webster Groves Bookshop, feeling a little gloomy about the popular store which had closed down a half year earlier.

"My husband said, 'You know, you should think about reopening that shop. It made you really happy to work there.'"

Bartnett had worked at the old store, with former owner Ann Foy, near the end of its 51-year run at the corner of Gore and Lockwood.

The Bartnetts ended up salvaging the cedar woodwork, bookshelves and counter from the store, putting it in storage while they hunted for a new location.

After acquiring a lease on a location at 27 North Gore Ave., they put up the cedar panelling, laid out the bookshelves in the same floor plan, and hung the familiar white, paper globe light fixtures from the ceiling.

Walking into the shop since it opened quietly in August, people have been astonished that it looks so much the same - even has the same aroma.

"People walk in and say, 'Oh my gosh! It looks similar. It smells the same.' I mean -- people are tickled."

Filling the shelves, Bartnett says she's looking for books that are popular, but also books that are unusual.

"My goal is not to be Barnes and Noble," Bartnett said, "My goal is to have interesting, eclectic and different books. And people say that. They say, 'Wow, you have a really interesting selection.' And the see things they don't see anywhere else."

Bartnett says if she doesn't have a book in stock that a customer wants, she would be glad to order it for them.

Her goal is to keep the Webster Groves Bookshop alive for a long time.

"I just look at myself as the next person to carry this on. I don't think of this as my shop," she said.

What does her husband think of the dream his remark helped launch?

"He sent me some cute notes on opening day. He said, 'I hope the reality is as good as the dream.'"

At that Bartnett starts laughing. She laughs a lot, which is a good thing for a bookstore.

The Webster Groves Bookshop is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.