Independent bookstore thrives in Wasilla
At Black Birch Books & Curiosities, once you've been greeted by Grimm the shop dog, you'll find a little bit of everything, from classic literature to a cabinet full of Harry Potter paraphernalia.
"We even have an insult book; that's one of my favorites," Taylor Jordan said. "And then we make magic wands here. They all look different and they're all handmade and they're done right here in the shop."
Like the characters in the books she sells, Jordan has had some epic adventures herself.
"My recruiter told me, 'You're going to drive big vehicles, go to war, play with guns' and I did," she smiled. "I really liked deploying, I liked being in the field, I was a big field rat."
When a spine injury forced her to retire from her job as an Air Force police officer, Jordan welcomed a new chapter in her life as an independent bookstore owner.
"It's a completely different world," Jordan said. "It's not like a normal bookstore where you walk in and there's nothing but endless shelves and aisles and it's very sterile. This is a very interactive place."
Jordan's shop is part of a growing trend of indie stores. The American Booksellers Association reports the number of independent bookstores has increased 35 percent over the past decade.
Black Birch Books is located on Main Street in Wasilla; Jordan said it's the town's only local bookstore.
Customers call it "squirrelly" and Jordan aims to make it a unique and inviting safe place where people can gather and discuss the written word.
"We basically consider this home away from home. A nice, quiet hangout spot with a nice, homey feel that some places don't have," said regular customer Nancy McQueen.
Jordan regularly holds classes and workshops at the bookstore, as well as discussion groups on different religions from around the world.
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