Nestled in the heart of Tarpon Springs, The Gilded Page Bookstore stands as a unique haven for book enthusiasts and a vibrant community gathering space. We had the pleasure of speaking with Julia Bodwell, the passionate owner of The Gilded Page Bookstore, to discover what sets their business apart and how they're inspiring a love of reading on a larger scale.
What makes your business unique?
In addition to being an avid reader, I'm also an indie author of Young Adult novels, which makes it so much more meaningful when we support other local authors and artists. I also hand-order every item in the store, thoughtfully curating our selection of books and gift items. While my husband does still work a full-time job as a graphic designer, he's very helpful behind the scenes, especially with creating our logo and branded retail items, such as t-shirts and stickers. Everything we create or bring into the store is done so thoughtfully, and with the customer in mind. In addition to being a retail space, we've created a lounge area in which we host events and welcome the community to come together.
Why/How did you start your business?
For the last ten years, there hasn't been a bookstore in Tarpon Springs and I've always complained to my husband that I wished there was. One day, the lightbulb moment struck and it clicked: I would be the one to fill that need for the community! After ten years of teaching, I knew I couldn't continue for another thirty years until retirement. Unfortunately, with the way the education system is headed in America, I just knew I wouldn't make it, despite how much I loved being with my students. So it was a natural transition out of the classroom into the community to open the store and inspire a love of reading on a larger scale, something I was already doing within my middle school classroom.
How do you define success?
To me, success is about the feeling of accomplishment that you have at the end of the day. It could be something minor, like having the book in stock that a customer really wanted, or it could be larger, like raising money for a good cause (something we're looking forward to doing in August during our charity book sale). If I've set my sights on a goal, whatever it may be, and I've found a way to achieve it, I call that successful. When customers leave happy, or enjoyed themselves at one of our events, I know I've done my job.
What motivates you?
I love sharing new releases with our customers, whether it be novels or new products we've brought to the store. I'm motivated by that sense of accomplishment knowing I've brought some great items to the store for our customers to enjoy, or by putting on a great event that everyone had a good time at. I don't want our bookstore to just be a bookstore, I want it to be a destination. I want people to gather here, to share in the love of literature, and create that sense of community.
What products/services do you offer?
We sell new books and bookish gifts, such as book-inspired purses, candles, chocolates, and games. We also sell audiobooks through our affiliate, Libro.fm, and can special order just about any title, even if we don't carry it in the store. We also host a variety of events monthly, including book clubs, trivia night, open mic night, and story time, and we participate in monthly community events, such as First Friday and Wine Walk.
What market does your company serve?
We serve the local community, anyone looking for a great book to love, or community events to be involved in. As I mentioned, we also support local artists and authors whenever possible. We also have an online platform with Bookshop.org for those who wish to support us from afar. We're very excited to fill a need in our community, and look forward to continuing to grow as our town does!
Location: 155 East Tarpon Avenue, Suite 5, Tarpon Springs, Florida 34689,
Website: The Gilded Page Bookstore Website
Hours of Operation:
Mon 11:00 am – 06:00 pm
Tue 11:00 am – 06:00 pm
Thu 11:00 am – 06:00 pm
Fri 11:00 am – 07:00 pm
Sat 11:00 am – 07:00 pm
Sun 11:00 am – 04:00 pm
If you're in Tarpon Springs or the surrounding area, be sure to visit The Gilded Page Bookstore. Immerse yourself in the world of literature, discover new books, and join the vibrant community that Julia has created. Follow The Gilded Page Bookstore on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on their latest news, events, and book recommendations. Lose yourself in the atmosphere of The Gilded Page and surround yourself with other like-minded book lovers. It'll be time well spent.