Booklovers have a chance to ‘win’ their own bookstore

PHOTO PROVIDED
Kasey and Kevin Coolidge stand outside of their bookstore, From My Shelf Books & Gifts in Wellsboro. The Coolidges are running a contest for someone to “win” their store.

PHOTO PROVIDED Kasey and Kevin Coolidge stand outside of their bookstore, From My Shelf Books & Gifts in Wellsboro. The Coolidges are running a contest for someone to “win” their store.

WELLSBORO — After many years of running a successful bookstore in Wellsboro, a local couple is ready to move on to new pursuits. But they’re not selling their bookstore using a traditional method — they are offering one person the chance to “win” the bookstore.

Kevin and Kasey Coolidge started From My Shelf Books & Gifts in their hometown in 2006. It was their dream to give Wellsboro a bookstore with both new and used books.

“There wasn’t a bookstore in Wellsboro when I was growing up, and there wasn’t one when I met Kasey,” Kevin said. Both Kevin and Kasey were selling books part-time when they met. They merged inventories and soon outgrew their apartment. When space opened up downtown, they decided to take the leap to retail.

“It’s been a fun, learning experience,” Kevin said. “Now, I’m writing on a regular basis and have started doing author visits to schools. My children’s series, ‘The Totally Ninja Raccoons’ is taking off and we have agreed that it is time for the next phase of our life.”

During the 11 years that the Coolidges operated the Wellsboro bookstore, they’ve developed a clientele that goes beyond loyalty — the store is part of the community and friends have become family. A regular customer even proposed marriage to his sweetheart there.

Rather than liquidate the stock, the Coolidges decided that Wellsboro needs a bookstore, and asked themselves why someone else should have to start from scratch.

“My husband and I grew up here, and Wellsboro deserves a bookstore,” Kasey said. “Kevin thought it would be nice to be able to pay it forward and give someone else the opportunity, especially since starting a business is hard.”

The contest is simple. Contestants pay a set entry fee and write a 250 word essay on why a bookstore is important to a community. Anyone from anywhere can enter the contest, not only local residents.

“We need at least 4,000 entries in our contest to cover our current inventory, shelves, signage and six months of paid rent,” Kevin said.

Entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2018. “We do hold the right to extend the deadline for 60 days depending on the number of entries received by then,” he said.

“It may sound like a lot, but people who love books tend to be writers, and what booklover wouldn’t want their own bookstore?” Kevin said. “If it has always been your dream to own a bookstore, this is your chance. You don’t have to run it like we do. It can be your own thing — your dream come true.”

If 4,000 people enter the contest, Kevin and Kasey will select the top 20. Then a panel of impartial judges will choose a winner.

If 4,000 entries are not received, all entry fees will be returned and the couple will continue to run the bookstore.

For the list of rules and an entry form, visit the From My Shelf Books & Gifts website at www.wellsborobookstore.com or the bookstore’s Facebook page or call Kasey and Kevin at 570-724-5793.

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