Off The Beaten Path
LAKEWOOD — Little has changed at Off the Beaten Path bookstore in Lakewood, save for some fresh faces behind the counter.
Earlier this month the 28 Chautauqua Ave. bookstore changed hands from its previous owners, Judy and Katie Gustafson, to its new owners, the Lingle family.
Bob Lingle, owner and operator, said he has approximately seven years of experience working in and managing bookstores, and has always wanted to own a store of his own. In October 2016, the Lingle family — including Bob’s wife, Shannon and their children, Harper and Harrison — relocated from Buffalo to Jamestown when Shannon took a teaching position at Maple Grove High School.
He first learned that the Off the Beaten Path was for sale via Facebook in January, and instantly contacted the Gustafsons to express his interest in purchasing the business.
“This is the ideal bookstore, and it’s exactly what I’ve always wanted,” Lingle said. “I saw the post, met with Judy the following day and found what she was asking to be extremely reasonable. So I spent the rest of that weekend putting together a business plan, and walked into the bank the following Monday to get the ball rolling.”
Lingle said the process of transferring ownership was so fast that the store never experienced a lapse in business. He sent the Gustafsons a check on Feb. 28 and on March 1 started his first day on the job. He said it was helpful that the store was move-in ready.
“Judy and Katie were great in showing me the register and how they’d been doing things, so I was able to come in March 1 and basically just turn on the lights,” he said. “In looking at the sales history it doesn’t look like we’ve missed a beat in sales, and we’ve had a lot of regular customers coming in and introducing themselves. So we’ve already got some strong and immediate support from the community.”
Because Lingle’s purchase of the business included obtaining the bookstore’s stock of new and used books — along with the shop’s children’s room complete with a variety of Melissa and Doug brand toys, puppets and writing journals and notepads — little about the bookstore’s aesthetics have changed.
He said he intends on bringing back a monthly children’s storytime event to the store, something that had previously been hosted by the store’s original owner, Holly Richardson. Also he wants to start publishing a monthly newsletter offering information on sales, news and events. Customers can sign up for the newsletter via the store’s Facebook page menu at facebook.com/obpbooks/.
The Lingle family will host a “Meet-the-Owners” event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in which visitors can meet with the family and participate in a storewide 10 percent off sale, as well as an opportunity to win a variety of $5 and $10 gift cards via a drawing. On Saturday, April 28, the store will be participating in National Independent Bookstore Day via its partnership with the American Booksellers Association, and will be offering discounts throughout the day.
Off the Beaten Path has new business hours under Lingle’s ownership. The store is now open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
For more information and updates on events and happenings at Off the Beaten Path bookstore, call 720-4917, visit obpbooks.com or find the bookstore on Facebook.