Opening a bookstore is no small task as Todd Hulbert has found out.
Hulbert took over Baker Street Bookstore in Black Diamond April 31 and has been working almost non-stop ever since — in fact, he’s lost close to 30 pounds just moving books.
“This has been the most demanding task of my life, trying to sort these books” he said. “It’s just been grueling, physically, mentally and time-wise.”
The deal to buy the store from previous owner Bob Charles, who ran it for 17 years, came together just days before the doors were to shut for the last time.
Hulbert, who owns an online clothing and apparel business, said he had books but no place to put them. In fact, he had more than 150,000 used books he had acquired, sitting in storage.
Most of them are now lining shelves in the store, now called Finally Found Books, which will open July 7. In early May a semi-truck brought 100,000 tomes from storage to the store.
“We didn’t even get all the fixtures in before the semi truck arrived,” Hulbert said. “We installed approximately 180 linear feet of new shelving, reconfigured the store and divided up into many, many more subcategories on the books. Since then we’ve just been unpacking boxes, trying to get stuff categorized, alphabetized and it will be a three or four month ongoing process before we get everything categorized and alphabetized.”
As of June 28, Hulbert had between 10,000 and 15,000 books that still needed to be sorted and it was likely there would be a need to install additional shelving to accommodate them all.
Previously, there were fewer categories for the books, but Hulbert said there are now 10 categories of fiction with many subcategories in each along with the many other types of volumes.
“The idea is that it will be much easier to find the types of books that people like to read,” he said.
“We’ve added substantially to the non-fiction including hundreds of textbooks, a large section on religion, self-help and parenting, travel, how-to and home improvement and biography … we have a lot of teaching books (in non-fiction) and there’s a lot of teachers out there.”
There are also plans to bring in some comfortable seating to create a welcoming environment for patrons to read or groups such as book clubs, Cub Scouts or other small community organizations to meet in the store.
Another substantial change has been the expansion of the children’s books section.
“We brought in maybe 15,000 new books, plus thousands of books that we’re going to be giving away for free to the children,” Hulbert said. “We added substantial shelving and carpeted the area. We’ve added substantially to the teen and young adult sections, too.”
Coupons for free books for kids under 12 will be provided to area schools. Hulbert will also hand out coupons throughout Miners Days this weekend.
A ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening of the store is set for 9 a.m. Saturday (July 7) with representatives from the Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce. There will be balloons, snacks, water, and free book coupons as well as a book treasure hunt for youngsters with prizers.
“Once we get open and running we’ll also be buying and trading books, however, we are very particular about the condition and the titles,” Hulbert said. “I’m trying to make (the store) a great resource for everybody.”
Finally Found Books
32709 Railroad Ave.
Hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday