Go Local

The Children’s Hour Bookstore

Thriving local business found that secret sauce for success.

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Diane Etherington, owner of The Children’s Hour. Photo by Steven Vargo.

Big box stores and online purchasing is nothing new these days. In fact, companies like Amazon have made it nearly impossible to not buy your items from them. With convenient pay options, fast delivery, and easy return policys, one click is not just a new buzz word, it’s a reality.

You might wonder how the small, local shops are doing amongst all the e-commerce and bulk-selling and buying. I’m happy to report that the three I talked to have a way of doing business that is working for them quite well. Two common threads among them all: know your niche and love what you do.

The Children’s Hour

Diane Etherington opened The Children’s Hour bookstore in 1984. She got the bug to open a children’s bookstore after taking on a church assignment and began reviewing books for children.

She actually began by selling children’s books in a home party setting before taking the leap into a brick and mortar. The store was initially open for just two hours a day, but Diane quickly realized she needed to increase those hours, and hired a neighbor to work in the afternoon.

As times have changed, her store has evolved with them. No longer just a bookstore, Diane also now carries clothing for both women and children, shoes, gift items, and accessories.

“We started as a children’s bookstore, which brought us lovely women who were buying books for their children. After Barnes and Noble opened, I decided to start selling toys and things. Then it dawned on me that we have all these women coming into the store, maybe we should start carrying stuff for women.” Because customers are not just book lovers; they might be looking for that perfect dress or that special gift.

“I think we have a lot of people come in here because they like the way the store feels. We want to be make people happier than when they came in the door. We try really hard to make everyone feel welcome.

All four of Diane’s daughters have worked in the store. She feels the business has bonded her family in an amazing way.

“This was not what I planned, it really is amazing that it all turned out the way it did. We just really love our customers, we love seeing them.”

 

898 S 900 E, Salt Lake City. 801 359-4150

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