Fate couldn't have planned it better. Blue Frog Books opened its doors a little over a year ago in my town -- a town sorely lacking a great indie bookstore. When my first book was published six months later, the Blue Frog welcomed this new author with open arms, happily showcasing my work and scheduling a signing. The thing is, the proprietors of Blue Frog Books extend this attitude to everyone. Walk through the Tardis entry door into an inviting oasis filled with books of all genres, unique gifts and trinkets with local and literary flavor, and a smiling face behind the counter.
The atmosphere inside on the other side of that Tardis door is a book lover's dream. Looking for that new bestseller? Right here. What about the limited release graphic novel by that author you love? Over there. Obscure literary fiction for your kid's accelerated English course? They'll order it and call you in a few days when it's in. Rob and Penny, the proprietors/owners, are friendly without being overbearing. They are helpful when you need them and scarce when you don't, as it should be. There's even a cozy sitting area in the back, just right for taking a little extra time to leisurely peruse your options.
Blue Frog Books is the product of owner Penny Coleman's avid reading habit and dream to open a bookstore, and Investor/Manager Rob Vedro's small business experience. The location is the halfway mark between Penny's and Rob's hometowns, with the actual store perfectly positioned proximal to downtown Howell in a growing commercial business strip mall. Getting the shop up and running was a hands-on project, with friends and family pitching in to help. Penny Coleman still works as a pharmacist, necessary in today's world of book selling and publishing. Rob Vedro lends his 25 years of photo industry expertise to the printing and photo side of Blue Frog Books, a nice added perk the store offers. This includes photo services such as scanning, restoration, art creation, stretched canvas prints, large format Epson photo printing, and custom designed stationary cards for all holidays and occasions.
Blue Frog Books brings a cohesive feel to the arts and literary scene in the area. The owners have their finger on the pulse of what the consumer wants, hosting frequent author signings, story time, music nights, poetry nights and book clubs. There's even a summer reading bingo program with a prize drawing at the end. This month, Blue Frog Books will be on hand for the fun Arts, Books and Brews Pub Crawl (more on that in next week's feature!). A really cool thing happens when a much needed new business opens in a small town. Especially when the enthusiasm and gratitude emanating from the proprietors is so apparent, as is the case with this bookstore. The community embraces the effort. Vedro notes that as the best surprise in the endeavor: the overwhelming support. "We still have people pulling up to get their selfies in front of the store. Everyone seems very excited to have a bookstore back in town."