Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Finch & Fern Book Co.: A Bookstore for the Community

Finch & Fern Book Co., an independent woman-owned bookstore opened its doors to the community on Oct. 20 in downtown Sylvania. 

The bookstore, named after To Kill a Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch, will sell new and used books with plans to be open seven days a week with flexible hours.  “I want to make sure that I’m available for people to come in after work and just chill for a little bit,” Katie Gilliland, owner of Finch and Fern Book Co., said. “If somebody wants a quiet place to just hang out and surround themselves with good books, this is it, right here.”

Gilliland, a wife and a mother of three children, has been a long-time member of the Toledo bookstore community. She started working at Barnes and Noble in 2017 and worked there for four and a half years before leaving to work for the University of Toledo bookstore.

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Gilliland wanted to create a bookstore that is a reflection of the community and its unique needs. Her work experience provided insight into what the community wants in a bookstore.  “I think what makes Finch & Fern different is the environment that I’m trying to cultivate here and the involvement with the community,” she said. “I’m not just here to sell books; I want to cultivate relationships with the customers and the community as a whole.” 

Gilliland plans to host local author signings to showcase their work along with featuring local photographers’ work and being a gathering spot for local book clubs and kids’ story times.

“I’m going to find as many ways to involve people in the community as I possibly can,” Gilliland said. “Anybody who wants to promote local literary work or art, I want to be available to those people.” Plans also include participating in events like Sylvania’s First Fridays and the Miracle on Main Street.

A cozy place for all ages

Finch & Fern Book Co.’s 1500 square foot space is designed to provide the community with a “homey and cozy” place to read a book. The store has a “cool old vibe,” Gilliland explained, with walls lined with shelves, tables down the middle, many plants and “cushy chairs to sit in.”

“I want it to be warm and inviting. I strive to be that way as a person, and so I want the space I’m creating to feel that way too,” Gilliland said.

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The store will be a place for adults to come relax, but kids will also have a fun place to learn and play as well. “I’ll have a kid’s area because I want to make sure that kids want to spend time here, too,” Gilliland said. “Parents like to have somewhere to go to spend time doing something with their kids, and if kids are avid readers then this is going to be a fun place for them.”

A passion for selling books

“It took me until like a year ago to realize that what I like doing is selling books – sharing my love of books with people,” Gilliland said. “I love talking about books with people. I like seeing the world through all these different lenses and experiencing new cultures through reading and I feel like the world could use more of that.”  

“Having acquired all the knowledge and the skills that I have from all the different types of jobs that I’ve done, and being able to do something that brings me some joy, and also bring joy to other people is important,” Gilliland said. “The idea of being able to share this obsession with literature that I have makes me really excited.”

5641 Main St. Sylvania.  finchandfernbooks.com.

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