Bluestem Books was started in 1975 by Scott & Pat Wendt. Long before the Internet, they were selling a modest number of books through the mail. "Modest", of course, being a euphemism for miniscule. None the less, they didn't let a lack of profit slow them down from buying every good book they could get their hands on. They dreamed of someday owning a bookstore.
In 1984 they both quit jobs they hated, to give "poor but happy" a shot. They found a corner of a vacant warehouse they could afford in a run down part of town, and signed the lease. Being woefully underfinanced, they had to do most of the renovation themselves. Six months later the shop was finally open, and they've never looked back.
Twenty seven years have passed and now three generations of our family run Bluestem Books. Our stock has grown to more than 50,000 fine books. Our policy of buying high & selling low may be counter-intuitive, but it has worked for us.
In the years since we opened the shop, the "run down" part of town has blossomed into the beautiful "Historic Haymarket". We had hoped to stay in our little corner forever, but things change and now a splendid new chapter has begun.
*The update to this is that this new chapter in the story of Bluestem Books has turned out to be splendid indeed. We couldn't be happier with our new building, our new landlord & our new neighbors. We' even went back and thanked the developers for "suggesting" we move elsewhere when they bought our old building. It's all good!
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