University City: Co-op Bookstore Provides for the Neighborhood
While strolling down Baltimore Avenue a pleasant stop is Bindlestiff Books located on the 4500 block. It is a quaint little bookstore stocked with many different types of publications. Toy trains and other trinkets adorn he walls inside Bindelstiff that are covered with books.
More intimate than a chain store like Barnes and Nobles, Bindlestiff Books is a cooperative that carries a limited supply of books but receives new shipments every week. Along with ordering brand new books, the store will order remainder books. The purchasing options offered by Bindlestiff benefit customers through discounted prices.
Book enthusiast Walt Weber is one of the first and founding staff members of Bindlestiff Books. Weber’s worked at the store since it opened in 2004. He is one out of the eight employees who dedicates his working hours purely voluntarily.
Because Bindlestiff Books is a cooperative store, employees get paid by receiving discounts on books in the store. To Weber helping customers and learning more about different types of books and genres is a reward itself.
“I’ve learned so much about books,” Weber said. “It feels rewarding to be able to make recommendations to customers. I’ve had to learn what’s popular for a 4-year-old to read.”
The store holds author events whenever opportunities arise. It is partnered with Studio 34, located next door, where larger events are held due to the studio’s larger quarters.
Bindlestiff Books is in the process of becoming a for-profit cooperative. Bindlestiff hopes to expand its business in the future even relocating to a larger facility.