Book It: Newest Bremen store welcomed downtown
BREMEN – In 1912, J Huff erected a building which still bears his name way atop the frontpiece facing Bremen's main street.
The building has obviously served the town well, most recently as the headquarters of the venerable Quinn realty operation.
But even Mr. Huff could not have imagined, more than 100 years after he opened for business, a new bookstore would occupy his building, a few doors down from the famous Wooden Peel.
Yet it has.
Michella Smith owns and operates “Inspired.”
To simply call it a bookstore is an insult.
It is a boutique shopping experience centered on the printed word. But here are also T-shirts, candles and some nice tiles with hunter themes.
All go to show the complexity that is the dynamo of an owner.
“ ‘Inspired’ because everything in a boutique bookshop is inspired, often by great things from other writers,” she explains.
She is a published author, of children’s books, poetry and a few novels. The next novel is on pace to be published next fall.
She has other books being written – she currently is writing seven books – including one from the perspective of an animal rather than a human.
The hunting objects d’art come from another passion.
“I love shooting rifles, love that sporting life,” she said.
“I was born in LaPorte, but I grew up in Colorado including four years in Colorado Springs. I still love riflery and shooting.”
That area, besides being the site of the Olympic Training facility, is an outdoor sportsman’s dream area.
Obviously back home in Indiana, she carefully selected Bremen as the site of her biggest project yet.
“I researched Bremen for two years. I was waiting for the (business) door to open,” she said. “I made my plans. I was prepared for this moment.”
As for the printed word, she said she has a, “Deep appreciation for America and the diverse people. I felt completely honored, beyond honored, when the town officials came to my opening as a show of support.
“As a writer and published poet in the United States I love to create and share what is created.
“To me, I need to find a way to preserve the tradition of what writing has brought to America and the world.”
In the shop, each room is like opening a new package of delights. The one she loves the most is her “Children’s Room.”
She is the author of the Irish Cabbit series for children, about an Irish Rabbit/Cat, “Because I am half-Irish,” Smith said. She did not say if she is also part rabbit.
“The theme for my Children’s Room is bringing joy to the children,” she said.
The Irish Cabbit is a big part of that, of course, with T-shirts and soon to be DVDs, even music CDs. It is a 10-book series already and she has two more installments ready to go.
The series is available in five countries. Yes, superstore Barnes & Noble’s sells the series, as do other major sellers, even Amazon online. But here in Bremen an author of international acclaim is making a stand.
Obviously, the creator of a story has the inside track on how to present it best. For instance, she has a Power Point presentation about the Irish Cabbit.
She thinks the small town store has it all over the bigger impersonal ones. She is employing only local people as staff, for instance, and welcomes all ideas as the stock builds. She has a room for gently used books. E-books are yet to come but are on the way.
The next book of the Cabbit series will be an E-book,” she said.
“I am completely aware this project is against all odds from the get-go. But I have that inner drive to not fail and not give up on this goal.
“I now consider myself among those who want the challenge to take on a project, promote it within the community and make it work.
“My kids’ room alone will be special. We will be hosting an event, a gathering of special-needs kids.”
That party will include refreshments and family involvement. Already in place is a popcorn machine, movie theater-sized. She tested it. "Made my first batch and that was dinner," she said.
“That’s bringing a new service and people are gonna want more,” she said. “The supply and demand is phenomenal.
“I have a community belief in the whole of functioning members of society to share in all areas.”
Store hours: Weekdays 9-5 and Saturday 10-3.