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BOOK MARK'S STORY HAS EPILOGUE.

Byline: RETAIL NOTEBOOK By Joe Mosley The Register-Guard

In the space of a month, Amelia Reising and James Squires have run the occupational gamut - from employees to unemployed to self-employed.

Both were longtime clerks at the Book Mark until the independent bookstore closed last month.

Karen and Larry West, who said they were ready for retirement after owning the store more than 30 years, were unable to sell the business so instead sold the building at 856 Olive St., and liquidated its stock.

That left downtown Eugene without a general-interest bookstore, and their many customers without a familiar stopping-place - but not for long.

Reising and Squires opened their own general, independent bookstore this week in The Strand - the former Anderson's Sporting Goods Building at Eighth Avenue and Charnelton Street.

Books Without Borders operates in a 500-square-foot, leased nook inside the commercial building.

"Part of the reason Amelia and I did this is we had such a great connection with our customers (at the Book Mark)," Squires says.

"All the warmth we felt (from customers) when the Book Mark closed, we're just feeling all that again."

The Strand itself is becoming an eclectic marketplace, with other tenants including Theo's Coffee House, Cozmic Pizza, Wipf and Stock Publishers and Windows Booksellers, a religion-oriented used bookstore.

The building was purchased almost three years ago by Jon Stock, who owns and operates the Christian publishing house, and Doug Randels, who runs Windows Booksellers and the coffee house along with Stock.

Squires says the investment required to get the new bookstore up and running was "pretty significant," but he declined to be specific.

The new bookstore fits comfortably among the theo- logically-based businesses, although Reising stresses that the Books Without Borders selection is "very secular."

Books on display tables and shelves range from "The Edible Italian Garden" by Rosalind Creasy to Tom Robbins' "Still Life with Woodpecker" to Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code."

"It's been very nice so far, and everyone's been nice to us," Reising says. "We don't get the feeling we're juxtaposed here at all. We fit in really well."

The new bookstore is small - less than a sixth of the size of the Book Mark - but that's also somewhat by design.

Inventory is minimal, but the owners say that they will try to satisfy their customers with an intriguing mix of in-stock books and a willingness to special order any specific titles that are requested.

"Even with the Book Mark, special orders were a big part (of the business)," Squires says. "You could never stock everything people might want."

"Karen and Larry (West) had told us a smaller bookstore had a better chance of survival in the downtown area," Reising says. "So we were comforted by that."

The two plan to expand their services to include delivery of orders within a limited area near downtown, and perhaps to include reading groups that could meet in a common area of the marketplace.

"We'll settle in for a couple weeks and see what the customers are interested in, and then we'll tailor the store to what they want to see," Squires says.

Retail Notebook runs on Thursdays. Joe Mosley can be reached at 338-2384 or jmosley@guardnet.com.

CAPTION(S):

James Squires and Amelia Reising have opened Books Without Borders in the Strand Building at Eighth Avenue and Charnelton.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 26, 2005
Words:556
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