Glenwood’s Book Grove stands pat as other bookstores fade
As local books stores sadly come and go here in the Roaring Fork Valley, one has remained as a consistent source for used books for the last 15 years.
The Book Grove, tucked away on the corner of Blake Avenue and Eighth Street in downtown Glenwood Springs, has served as a gathering spot for book lovers, treasure hunters and tourists for 15 years.
With the closing of the Book Train on Grand Avenue in April, a void seemed to open for the reading community. Quietly, the Book Grove continues to thrive, thanks in part to Sheri Scruby owning the building in which she runs her business.
“I’m my own landlord, so I control my own rent,” Scruby said during a recent sit-down in the lounge at Book Grove. “But one of the biggest keys to my success is that I’m an online bookseller. If someone wants a book in Manchester, England, and they found it on my website, I can sell it to them and ship it.”
Scruby opened the Book Grove in May 2004, but for a few years before purchasing the building and opening up the store, she sold books out of her home after getting involved with a reading program at her kids’ school.
From there, the well-traveled book lover started scouring for books throughout her travels, developing a serious passion for used books, leading to her success with the Book Grove.
While it may seem easy to find used books to add to her collection to sell, it wasn’t easy at first for Scruby. But through her experiences she’s developed a knack for finding those rare books.
To hear Scruby talk about it, she points to the German word das Fingerspitzengefühl.
To have Fingerspitzengefühl means to have an intuitive instinct about any given situation, and to know how to react to it without having to deliberate. It also suggests a certain tact or sensitivity that comes with experience.
“Searching for used books is definitely like treasure hunting,” Scruby said. “The valley is abundant when it comes to books, but it’s definitely challenging. It’s that German word [Fingerspitzengefühl] — I just have a sixth sense for finding those rare books and those signed books.”
She said she can look at a pile of used books and just know what’s worth it and what’s not.
“That just comes with experience,” she said. “I have a really good memory, so I know if I’ve seen a book or not. That’s just intuition. We all have intuition, but it’s important to listen to it and develop it, and I feel that’s what I’ve done during my time searching for used books.”
Aside from providing the community with used books, Scruby takes pride in the Book Grove serving as a gathering place for the community. One wouldn’t think of a book store being a gathering place for people to visit and catch up, but that’s part of the Book Grove’s atmosphere.
“A lot of valuable exchanges have taken place here,” Scruby said. “Often, customers who don’t know each other will strike up meaningful conversations in the store.
“There’s a lot of serendipity and synergy that goes on here. I actually wanted to call the store Serendipity Book Store, but that name was taken when I first opened. So I came up with the Book Grove since I adore trees.
“Groves are a community of trees, and the Book Grove is a community for book lovers,” she said. “I really appreciate that, and I believe in what this store has become for the community.”
For now, the Book Grove is the lone bookstore in town. Scruby continues to add best-sellers to her inventory, as well as local books about the area, and perennial favorites over the years, like Hunter S. Thompson books.
Scruby also has a large collection of children’s books, CDs, vinyl, audio books, DVDs, handmade greetings cards, local trail maps, postcards and many other products.
Despite the number of book stores that have closed in the area, Scruby believes independent bookstores will bounce back.
“We posted an article online [the store’s Facebook page] recently about the resurgence of bookstores in America, which pleases me,” Scruby said. “I always tell people, when you shop for something new, you go out and find what you want; in a used bookstore, often something finds you.”
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