The Paulina Springs Books store is about to enter a new chapter as it changes hands for the third time since it was started more than a quarter of a century ago in Sisters.
Lane Jacobsen, a 27-year-old North Carolina resident, will take control of the 3,240 square-foot store on W. Hood Avenue at the beginning of November.
The bookstore carries new books, features local author book talks and offers up expertise in the community on topics from birds to its history. It is part of the community, sponsoring author talks, selling self-published books on consignment, toys and games and sponsoring community events, said Cynthia Claridge, a part owner of the shop.
“A bookstore like this helps cement the Sisters experience,” said Amy Watson, an Oregon State University-Cascades marketing professor. “When the store can recommend authors, it adds to the entire vacation experience in a different way for those looking for mental stimulation. And it provides for something that they can take home to dive deeper into the community.”
For 15 years the bookstore was owned by Brad Smith. Together with his wife, Randi Schuyler, and his sister Claridge, the trio purchased and ran a second store in Redmond, but that was sold in 2015 when Smith was diagnosed with cancer.
Smith died in May, and the family is selling the Sisters store to Jacobsen. Sales are estimated at $500,000 a year, according to information published in an industry newsletter.
“There’s still a lot of people who want to read books,” said Claridge, a retired educator who had run the store in Redmond. “This store is a major part of the community, and a lot of people in Sisters consider us one of the many aspects that are at the heart, or core, of the community.”
Over the years the store has sponsored the annual Sisters Folk Festival and the annual quilt show. It was a difficult decision to sell the store, Claridge said. It was originally founded by Dick Sandvik and Diane Campbell. Smith purchased the store in 2001 and kept much of the same format.
“Sisters has grown up around the bookstore,” she said. “It’s a tight community, and everyone knows everyone and what’s going on. They know it’s important to support events.
“It’s been very hard for me to sell the store. I’ve enjoyed being a part of the store. My brother loved owning the store and always saw it as a business.”
A California native, Jacobsen said he has been waiting for such a bookstore as Paulina Springs to come on the market. The purchase, he said, feels right. Jacobsen, who has been working in a North Carolina bookstore called Flyleaf Books for the past six years, said he doesn’t plan to make many changes. Growing up in a town similar to Sisters, he sees the move to Sisters as a return to his roots, Jacobsen said.
“I plan to be very present in Sisters,” Jacobsen said. “It has always been a dream of mine to own a bookstore. This is a good fit for me.
“You don’t function in a small community like this unless you have a good sense of community. That is important to me.”
— Reporter: 541-633-2117, firstname.lastname@example.org