MONTICELLO — For Angela Britt, opening a bookstore was a long awaited dream.
Even though she and her husband owned a traveling pressure washing business — called DAB Pressure Washing and Home Services — Britt always felt the pull to open her own bookstore.
Originally from the Francesville area, Britt said she has been in Monticello since November 2020 and officially opened the store two months ago. It had been roughly 10 years since Britt was in Monticello.
Located at 103 W. Washington St., the quaint bookstore features children’s, young adult, adult, best seller, manga books and cookbooks. The store also sells clothing, bee products, and accessories. The clothing and bee products are from outlying producers that sell through the store.
“I wanted to provide to the community by selling a variety of things and books, including children’s and best sellers,” Britt said. “If you are on the low end of a budget, you can find something, but if you have some money to splurge with, you can also find something here, too. You can find something from $1 to $70.”
Books are from the store, ordered online by request, or donated through the credit system. If you donate a book, you can obtain credit which will reduce the price of future books you buy.
The credit system applies for books and beverages. Beeswax products, signed books, clothing, and accessories do not apply. Only $10 worth of credit can be used at one time, but you can accumulate an unlimited amount over time.
“The store credit is nice because if people have a low budget, they can get a best seller with their gently used books,” Britt said. “I just want to help people, no matter the budget, find what they are looking for.”
When asked how buying books helps the community more than just going to the library, Britt said, “The library is a great resource, but there are only so many copies of a book available that people are sharing among a large community. When you buy a book, you are supporting local businesses and keeping that copy for however long you wish to own it.”
Despite the store’s size, there are spaces available for people to sit down and read a book from cover to cover. Angela hopes to use these spaces to start a story hour for kids and book club, which is why the space has beverages for sale, bean bag chairs, rugs and soft music playing.
“I want customers to get a peaceful feeling. I want people to just come in and relax. We are planning to hang curtain lights in the front portion of the store, so kids have a space to get away and read,” Britt said. “I want this place to be a destination instead of a place people just visit once in a while.”
Britt plans to start story hour within the last week of July and the book club sometime in the fall. When asked for specifics regarding the book club, Britt said anyone can join, but a theme will most likely be put in place for each meeting.
“I just believe reading opens your mind to so many things. Even if it is a fiction book, it still opens your mind to the idea that you too can open a bookstore or you can have success,” she said. “I just think books grow your mind, so I hope these opportunities do the same for the people involved.”
During quarantine and before opening, Britt conducted reading sessions on the “Angela’s Books & More” Facebook page to connect with people in the community.
“I think COVID-19 encouraged people to want to read books more, so now I think more people are reaching out to see what is out on the market,” she said. “I have also had people living in local vacation homes stop in to get a book. I think reading just gets you out of your daily grind. It puts your mind toward something else.”
Britt has also helped the small free library boxes located around Monticello. According to Britt, boxes are located outside her store, at Altherr Nature Park and along the lakes.
“I think the box is perfect for people who are still concerned about COVID-19. They can pick up a book in the small boxes without any hassle or concern,” she said. “It is also a great opportunity for the community to step out and share their love for reading among each other.”
Currently, the store does not require face masks, but according to Britt, she sanitizes every surface and book.
The store is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.