VILONIA — As you peer through the doorway of Twice Read Books in Vilonia, a couple of rooms of books appear before you, and the smell of freshly painted white wooden shelves along the walls invite you to choose a book from books neatly stacked and settle into a comfy chair.
Located in a house at 1021 Main St., owner Nancy Bonnema is holding her grand opening today, providing more than 2,500 gently used books as well as complimentary coffee and cookies. On Saturday, she will offer free hot dogs and sodas.
There’s a couple of reasons she opened the store, she said. One being, she was recently "laid off" from a job as a mortgage underwriter.
"I also love books and I love to read," she said. "I had a lot of books at home and my husband (Larry) said I should open a book store."
Being laid off may have served as a motivator, but she’s been mulling around opening a bookstore for several years. For now, she is the sole employer. However, she has had a lot of help and support in opening the doors.
"My whole family has pitched in," Bonnema said.
Her husband remodeled the inside. A granddaughter, Kali, painted the sign. There’s also been sons and son in laws helping with painting and mowing.
The bookstore features romance books, biographies, westerns, fiction, novels and children’s books. Among the store’s unique collection you can also find a book that Bonnema authored in 2006 titled "The Harem’s Secret." On that note, she said, she is also writing a second book with hopes to publish it in the near future.
The prices for the used books are typically $3 to $5, half the cover price or less of new books. She also plans to devote a corner to Arkansas’ authors and has hopes they will send her a sample for review, as well as making guest appearances for signings. Her future plans include starting a book club that will meet monthly. Another aspect, she said, will be story time on Saturday mornings where stories will be read to children.
Also, Bonnema has plans to open an Internet Café in about a month or so in another portion of her building.
"This will let kids that don’t have Internet at home come and do projects here," she said.
Counting on community support, she said, selling used books is not typically interpreted as a rich business.
"With the economy, I know a lot of people are having to make changes," she said. "This is one place they can still get a good book for a few dollars."
She is also offering an exchange for used books, she added.
Currently, the business is open 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.