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Third Street welcomes Phoenix Books
MARYSVILLE The newest merchant in downtown represents an unlikely coalition of forces working to keep this citys aging retail core vibrant and busy. Phoenix Books is a used bookstore at 1508 Third St., next to the Hilton Pharmacy and only one space away from BookWORKS, an established business open at the location for two decades.
When Phoenix owner Betsy DeSalvo wanted to move from her former Smokey Point location to the larger space next to Mary Burns store, she wasnt sure how the idea would fly with Burns, who has owned BookWORKS for a decade. So when DeSalvo asked Burns about empty space next door, Burns got the landlord on the phone and almost sealed the deal herself.
They are helping us, DeSalvo said of her BookWORKS neighbors. That attitude is running up and down Third Street, according to several merchants. Its a cozy kind of place but it has to be economically viable and thats what we are all working on.
DeSalvo used to own the Readers Choice store in Arlingtons Smokey Point area, but wanted a bigger footprint and better location. When a buyer wrote her a check for the lock, stock and barrel, DeSalvo headed south to Marysville. She bought the original store from her daughter and son-in-law and learned the ropes from them, she said.
My daughter taught me about the business, it wasnt the other way around, DeSalvo laughed.
Her Smokey Point shop was 1,350 square feet and attracted customers from as far as Stanwood and Camano Island. The new digs are almost 1,900 square feet and DeSalvo is banking on attracting not just foot traffic but destination shoppers interested in hitting her shop, BookWORKS and the Third Street Book Exchange, another used bookstore a block east. Just as Snohomish and La Conner have become destinations for antique shoppers with their variety of stores, DeSalvo and Burns think the same could be done for Marysville.
Our hope is that it will bring more book lovers to Third Street, DeSalvo said. Her shop opened in November.
I kept telling her that she should be on Third Street because its a really neat street, Burns echoed.
She admitted her landlord was leery about upsetting an established business by leasing to a competitor, but both owners say there is a big difference in folks who must have the latest bestseller and those who are browsing for the occasional rare find. Burns told the landlord to just sign the lease and stop worrying. She admits that it is better to have a busy store than a shuttered store front.
We trade customers back and forth, Burns explained, citing the constant wave of referrals between the stores. I hate for somebody to walk out of my store with nothing in their hand. Why not make it easy for my customers?
They go together like cream and sugar, said Andrea Boyle, an employee at BookWORKS.
Burns says she loves to order books for her customers, saying it expands her horizons. DeSalvo said her favorites are older volumes, with a bent for visuals.
I love to collect books that have really good illustrations, whether they are adult or childrens books, DeSalvo said. Her favorite authors are Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, James Patterson and Michael Connelly, and her genre of choice is the psycho-thrillers game.
Phoenix also hosts different artists on the walls of the shop, and her friend Sue Bonasera sells her exotic Samuria Tea blends there as well. The store was the place to be on a recent winter night as Christmas carolers swarmed the stacks and bellowed out holiday classics, warming their throats with hot tea samples. Staff were dressed in period costumes like other merchants and DeSalvos friend Dillon Doyle was demonstrating the craft of spinning fibers on her foot-powered spinning wheel.
Phoenix Books is located at 1508 Third Street in downtown Marysville; the phone number is 360-653-BOOK. BookWORKS is located 1510 Third Street and the phone is 360-659-4997, website www.marysvillebookworks.com. The Third Street Book Exchange is located at 1615 Third Street, phone 360-659-8734.