From the cradle to the grave

Well-Read Books celebrates a lifetime of books with its 20th anniversary

and it’s a labour of love for the partners that own the store, which has established itself as a venue for the arts community. Over the years, Well-Read has hosted everything from a wedding to a wake, as well as numerous poetry readings, storytellings, concerts and plays. But it’s the attachment to community and connection with customers that has paved the way for two decades of success in Whitehorse.

“I think one of our big reasons for success in the community has to do with customer service,” said co-owner Jan Stick via email. “We have always tried to get to know our customers, be welcoming, be helpful, know their likes etc.
“We’ve been known to call up customers when something interesting come in they might be interested in. We order books that customers are looking for—some don’t want to shop online and are happy for us to do it for them. We also offer a clean, bright, organized beautiful space, with places to sit and browse—occasionally nap. We are able to tell you if we have a book. We offer kids a great space and a great collection.”

Because of that relationship, Well-Read Books is planning to share its 20th anniversary with Whitehorse residents. The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the event on July 10 and will feature performances and readings throughout the day. Some of the musicians and authors scheduled to appear include Kevin Barr, Nicholas Mah, and Sam and Claire Gallagher.
It will also feature a noon-hour address from the three business partners, who will also be serving cupcakes. They will be on hand to discuss the special exhibit for the event, “Lost Things Found,” which has been inspired by their book dealings over the last 20 years.
Those two decades have not come without some ups and downs, according to Stick.

“For a while we saw sales slip when ebooks came out,” Stick said. “But customers have reverted back to real books for home—and perhaps ebooks for travel.” And those years have seen a myriad of different clientele come through the doors, which reflects the scope of what Well-Read Books has to offer.

“People that have come since day one; families, children, out-of-towners (from) Atlin, Skagway and Yukon communities, schools, daycares,” Stick emailed when asked about the types of customers. “Tourists. Some looking for something to read, others looking for a specific book, and those looking for northern books. We have quite a collection of northern books that we have acquired over the years.” But there are no plans to change soon, Stick promised. Just to continue to sell more books and contribute to the community in new ways.

For more information on the Well-Read Books 20th anniversary event, contact the store via email at [email protected].

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