Petey Hovander’s old Windmill Store that she ran as a neighborhood grocery for many years has a new tenant, but don’t expect to see the blades whirling again except on special occasions.
“It takes a lot of power to run that thing,” laughed Blaine native Kathy Elsbree, who last month opened the first legitimate books-only bookstore Blaine has seen in decades in the landmark building at the corner of Bell Road and Peace Portal Drive. She’s named it Read All About It.
Home to everything from a duty free store to a man who liked dressing up as a carrot in recent years, the building at 2390 Peace Portal Drive has three rooms full of used books that Elsbree has collected over the last 18 months and re-sells at garage sale prices.
“Paperbacks are a dollar, big paperbacks are two and hardbound books are two and three dollars,” she said, “and magazines are free.” She said that since opening September 1 “people have dropped off books almost every day.” The ones she can’t sell are donated to various charities, including soldiers in Iraq who are sent children’s books to read over the internet to their children back home.
Elsbree does not pay or trade for the books but will find them new homes with the help of a steady clientele generated by her conspicuous location.
It’s also a place that can be entertaining, she said, because of the minor incidents of road rage that the four-way stop in front of her store generates.
“People go sailing right through this intersection,” she said, “and other drivers are clearly not pleased. One woman even gets her dog to bark out the window at other drivers who upset her.”
Elsbree’s bookstore is open Monday through Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday 1 to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Her son Lyle and his partner Chris Ketchens will soon be opening Fortress Electronics in the back of the bookstore and will provide, among other services, a Wi-Fi connection that will make Read All About It an internet cafe as well as a bookstore.