The most noticeable difference is the cafe, which occupies the first room you enter. It will feature premium coffee and baked goods from local roasters and bakers, said Makarchuk. “We’re trying to stick with a healthy degree of quality,” he said. “It’s not the stuff you’ll find everywhere.” The cafe is still in the works, but progress is happening.
As soon as the cafe is fully functional, it will be the site of a Thursday open-mike night. There is no stage, but the cafe will be wired for sound so that the performers can be heard through the whole store. The open-mike night may evolve as patrons become accustomed to it. “The idea of karaoke is definitely something I’m thinking about,” said Makarchuk.
Regardless, with or without karaoke, open-mike night will have an unusual attraction: a modern player piano, which can be seen and heard playing ragtime and other tunes. But there are no paper rolls with holes punched out of them; new player pianos read computer code. Performers at the open-mike night can sing along to their own playing if they wish. “They can come in before and play it and we can digitize it,” said Makarchuk.
Before purchasing Books and Memories, Makarchuk researched bookstore management and trends to avoid repeating others’ mistakes. “There is a lot of fantastic information online about starting a bookstore,” he said. He now thinks of the store as a bookstore cafe. “The atmosphere is a giant cafe with books as decoration.” His vision for the place also includes rethinking the traditional bookstore as more of an “entertainment exchange.” He said the store trades in movies, games, posters, magazines, CDs and other media, not just books.
Makarchuck doesn’t think the added focus on multiple media will lessen the quality or depth available on the bookshelves. “We try to keep a really rich variety in every section,” he said. This happens naturally, because all the staff members have their own favorite section they enjoy and look after.
Despite the reorganization of the books, Makarchuk wants to cultivate a good book-browsing atmosphere. “A healthy degree of chaos is good for a used bookstore,” he said. “It’s that whole discovery factor that makes it happen.”
Scott Makarchuk, new owner of Eastwood’s Books and Memories: "A healthy degree of chaos is good for a used bookstore. It’s that whole discovery factor that makes it happen." MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTOS
Vintage magazines and dollar books will be available for perusal in the cafe, but Makarchuk hopes to avoid some of the usual coffee accidents around the books. As a compromise, “They will be able to take their drinks into the bookstore, but they won’t be able to bring books into the cafe,” he said. Tables and chairs have recently been added by the front windows in each of the store’s rooms, extending the cafe’s seating and providing places to sit and read. Combined, the cafe and the bookstore will seat about 50.
Books and Memories is currently running its holiday sale of 25 percent off all books. “When we took over the store it was an annual tradition, so we don’t want to disappoint,” said Makarchuk. He knows the store is vital to the Eastwood community, and he intends to maintain that. The store is available for use by local groups, clubs and schools. “We’re interested in doing a lot of community events,” said Makarchuk. “We’re welcoming any not-for-profits and clubs that need some meeting space.” In particular, he is looking for local high school bands to perform in the new cafe. Most importantly, Makarchuk said, Books and Memories feels new. “It’s changed. The vibe has changed a lot here.”
Books and Memories is open daily from noon to 8:30 p.m. It will be closed Christmas Day, and other abbreviated holiday hours will be posted at www.booksmemories.com as those dates approach. For more information, call 434-9268.