Books Galore, 411 W. Main St., in Festus, will close its doors this month after 25 years in operation in southern Jefferson County.
John Gilbert, 57, and his wife Kendall Gilbert, 56, own and operate the store.
They said they plan to close it around December. 17.
“That’s our goal,” John said. “That could change for a few days.”
Gilberts originally opened Books Galore on June 20, 1997 at a location on Rock Road in De Soto. They later moved it to a space on DeSoto Avenue, and later to the Twin Cities Mall and Crystal City Plaza in Crystal City. It has been at its current home in Festus for the past 10 years.
The Gilberts said they thought now was the perfect time to close the store, which offers new and used books, DVDs and CDs, games and other merchandise.
“I just think it’s been on the back of our minds,” John said. “When you get to 25, you start thinking about it. We thought about moving. But, we decided to do something else.
“So, we’re empty nesters. That adds to the discussion of ending bookstores.”
A lack of customers was not one of the reasons for the imminent closure, he said.
“Sales have been really good,” John said. “So, it’s pretty cool.”
Kendall said she enjoys mingling with customers who have frequented the store over the years.
“We made a lot of good friends,” she said. “That part is going to be hard to leave behind. I also really enjoy working with my husband.”
“Not everyone can say they enjoy working with their spouse,” jokes John. “We work very well together.”
John said the bookstore has become part of his identity.
“We were shopping at another store the other day, and a customer saw me and said, ‘Hey, I’m John the Bookman!’ I think that’s always the right name.”
The store, located across the street from the Festus Public Library, turned out to be a great place to do business, John said.
“I think a lot of people think we’re crazy to move in from the library across the street,” he said. “However, it’s already very good.”
“The librarians have been very good at sending people here,” Kendall added.
Books Galore has partnered with other libraries in Jefferson County, John said.
“We work with all library systems in different activities,” he said.
The fate of Books Galore’s remaining inventory is yet to be determined.
“Too much,” John said. “Maybe 50,000 titles. That’s a conservative estimate. Plus, movies, music, and games. Ideally, it would be nice if one or more people bought them all.”
The Gilberts intend to continue selling their wares after the store closes.
“In the near future, I will continue to sell online,” John said. “We’ve been doing some online sales. We just don’t have a lot of time to devote to online sales.”
To buy from the store online, visit books-galore.com.
Noting that bookstores are getting harder to find, the Gilberts opened a new bookstore in DeSoto earlier this year, Belle’s Book Boutique at 118 S. Main St. in DeSoto.
Jefferson County has a lot of readers, so the area needs bookstores, the Gilberts said.
“I think there are enough people in Jefferson County to support another bookstore,” John said.
John and Kendall said they haven’t decided what to do next with the store closed.
“We’ll let the dust settle,” John said. “We will remain online on Facebook so people can keep in touch with us.”
Kendall said she plans to spend more time reading.
“We’ve always been interested in books,” she said. “We have piles of stuff in our house. Now, we’ll have time to read them.”