The Ashland Book Exchange
This is not our official site. For directions and more information about the store,
please go to: www.ashlandbookexchange.com
We can be contacted at: 541-324-2174 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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A Short History of the Book Exchange
Edna Asher opened Edna's Book Exchange in 1971. The store was located at 89 North Oak in Ashland between Rosie's Flower Shop and the bus station. Edna's beginning inventory was about 1,400 books. Within five years the inventory had grown to 20,000 items. After her husband, Jim, retired from the insurance business, he began working with her at the store.
In 1993 Edna sold the store to Cindy Munroe, her long time friend and golfing buddy. Cindy closed the store for a month to lay new carpeting and upgrade the bookcases. In 1997 she renamed the store The Book Exchange. In 2000 she was able to expand into the flower shop doubling the size of the store and increasing the inventory to around 35,000 books.
In October and November of 2010 Cindy relocated the store to 90 North Pioneer Street, again doubling its size and substantially increasing the inventory. Cindy closed the business for a month to enable her to move the bookcases and install new ones in the larger space. She also added additional staff to help with the workload. The store reopened in November, 2010 in time for the Holiday rush.
The "Historic" Pioneer Street building, which also houses the Stop N' Shop convenience store and a beauty shop, was originally a cabinet shop which expanded into casket making and eventually became a funeral parlor. After that it was the home of Ashland Hardware until it moved to its current location on A Street. Masie's Clothing was the last tenant before the Book Exchange and Stop N' Shop moved in.
In May, 2014 Cindy sold the store to Roy Laird and Lisa Afshar. Roy had worked in the store since it moved to its current location. Previously, Roy worked for twenty-five years at the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, Colorado. His wife, Lisa, a midwife for over twenty years, soon left that vocation to devote herself to the store. In a bit of serendipity, another Tattered Cover person, Linda Millimann, had recently returned to the Rogue Valley where she grew up. She had worked at the Tattered Cover for thirty-five years and began working at the Book Exchange in the last few months of Cindy's tenure.
That summer Linda, Lisa, Roy, and their kids, Max, Maddy, Molly, and Sarah remodeled the front of the store, creating a larger lobby with new bookcases and carpet. They also moved the Children's Section to the front of the store. The next step was to expand into the previously underused back room creating space for Cookbooks, Architecture, Home Repair, and Gardening. Moving these sections out of the main store meant that there was more flexibility in redesigning the back part of the store, making it possible to change the orientation of bookcases, create nooks, and make sitting areas. Once the rear part of the store was remodeled, work began on the large middle area.
The remodeling took three years and was done without closing the store. Old bookcases were removed, new ones installed, carpet laid, and books shuffled and reshuffled with the work taking place after the store closed and often extending into the early morning hours. After building and installing around 150 bookcases and new sales and buying counters, the major part of the work was completed in May, 2017. While numerous loose ends remain, the job is mostly done.
In the summer of 2014 Lisa attended the Colorado Antiquarian Booksellers School (CABS) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The was the beginning of the store's expansion into rare and antiquarian books.
In the spring of 2015 the store abandoned its paper systems and went on the cloud-based Basil Bookstore Inventory package out of Georgia. This brought the store firmly into the twentieth century.
"There is no frigate like a book to take us Lands away..." -Emily Dickinson