Bay Leaf To Bid Adieu?
By Ken DeLaat
Here’s why Buy Local is so important
Bay Leaf Books, the hands down best bookstore I have ever been privileged to enter, is closing.
And believe me they will be sorely, sorely missed.
Having spent a lifetime of hunting for and exploring used book emporiums there was a good deal of excitement when Bay Leaf moved their location from downtown Sand Lake to downtown Newaygo. If you’ve spent any time at all in these venues you know that the quality of merchandise at times can be rather, uh....I guess varied might be the word, from store to store.
Years ago when these places were popping up all over the Grand Rapids area LSC (Lifetime Spousal Companion) Lil and I...
...hit nearly every one and many seemed to be filled with volumes that just escaped the deep recesses of someone’s attic or Michigan basement.
To call the merchandise at Bay Leaf ‘used’ is to do the store a disservice. These books are each vigilantly inspected before arriving on the shelves and, if needed, delicately cleaned and spruced up before put to work. They might have an appearance of being brand new or possibly possess a vintage kind of look while at the same time feeling like someone’s treasured edition that had been read carefully and considerately before being placed gently among its more contemporary companions.
And what an addition to the downtown Newaygo shopping selections Bay Leaf has been!
If you’ve traveled about on vacation or merely wandered aimlessly as is my preference when it comes to excursions away from home and find yourself in a small town there’s a tendency to take a peek at what shops might be intriguing, We have a fabulous furniture store in Sui Generis , the foodie’s find known as Gala Gourmet, a fabric feast at the New Ewe, two antique lovers options, a palace of dried meats and other goodies, sporting goods, restaurant/bars including a brewery, a general store, clothing choices and other options worth exploring.
And, for now anyway, we have a book store. Not just any book store, mind you, an absolute oasis for readers of every imaginable interest. From the extensive collection of kids and young adult books to tomes regarding philosophy, archaeology, and political thought. Poetry finds a niche in Bay Leaf as does the imaginative artwork of graphic novels and best sellers share shelves with well-written but perhaps a bit more obscure options.
And if you can’t find it?
Gabe will assist you in locating a copy should the copy exist somewhere on the planet.
Or at least he will while they still exist in their State Street locale.
This is on us, folks.
Later on when people remark on how much they miss the bookstore one hopes there is a realization that for us to continue to have a thriving sustainable community we must support the local businesses that breathe life into our area. Otherwise we find an ever-growing contingency of empty storefronts the likes of which can be found in similar towns throughout the country.
I’m not sure when Bay Leaf will close its doors. Until they do, however may I suggest a run on their shop exceeding any expectations? If you’re a reader go in and select from the vast array of volumes for future reading and if you’re not, buy some selections for a friend, family member, co-worker, casual acquaintance, or even pay it forward by giving a copy of your favorite read to a perfect stranger.
Bay Leaf might be departing but let’s show them the appreciation they deserve for making the Newaygo area their home these past few years. Best way to do this? Make their closing easier by reducing substantially the number of items they need to move. Flood them with support that might be too little too late but will be appreciated all the same.
And in the meantime?
Buy Local and Be Local gentle readers.
It might be easier to shop online but to continue to support the businesses where no human face accompanies the exchange of cash for goods is to lose the stores we cherish and diminish the community we love.
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