Bookends Receives July Small Business Award
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
When Gwen and Wes Bartlett retired, they wanted to have something to do to keep them busy—Gwen had been a librarian and had always wanted to own a bookstore and Wes was an English teacher. They grew up here and wanted to retire closer to family. When they first opened the store, they had all of 3,000 books; today, they have over 20,000!
According to their employees and customers, Bookends can be described as “warm and welcoming,” “cozy,” and “homey. At Bookends, they have a section of rare and antique books that are open and available to the public, as well as a qualified book repairer. They can order basically any book you are looking for and cater to all income levels—they have books ranging from free to $800.
At Bookends, people are given store credit for the book they bring in. Books don’t have a high profit margin so finding a good balance between the amount they give for credit and the amount they charge for books has been a challenge. At the beginning, people had a hard time understanding the “books for credit” piece. However, their process has helped them serve a market that was not being reached until now, as well as serving people outside of Hutchinson.
Gwen and Wes work hard to accommodate their employee’s schedules by offering very flexible scheduling. They treat their employees like family and celebrate birthdays, special events, and holidays. They take personal interest in their employees and have been told by several that they’re like grandparents to them.
Gwen and Wes are active in the Antique District. Gwen is president of the Wiley District and Wes is on the Downtown Hutchinson Revitalization Board and Chair of the Historic Landmark Commission. They are also involved in the Family Community Theater, the Downtown Hutchinson Promotions Committee, and Head Start. In addition, they donate to the senior centers, First Call for Help, Hutchinson Correctional Facility, and Union Rescue Mission.
Congratulations and thank you for all you do for our community.