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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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February 10, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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February 10, 2010
 

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010 9B Epilog Books: A community bookstore with something for everyone BUSINESS EPILOG BOOKS Linda Satchwell Staff Writer lsatchwell@plumasnews.com What's in a name? Chris Crawford and her husband, Tom, take pride in the name of their bookstore, Epilog Books. Except for an eight- year hiatus when an out-of- town owner changed it, their store has been called Epilog Books for more than 30 years. "I'm the fifth owner," said Chris. She and her husband bought the store in 2006. "I took the name back to Epi- log. That's how it started ... in a community like Quincy, it takes us forever to get used to a new name. When I took it back to Epilog, people would come in and say, 'So is this still Epilog?' even though they knew I was a new owner ... I would always say 'Yes.'" The tight and vibrantly artistic Quincy community is at the center of Crawford's mission--and the bookstore is definitely not a job for her; it's a labor of love. Chris has lived in the com- munity for 28 years. Tom has lived here for 30. It was always in the back of their minds, she said, to have a business here. Besides owning the book- store, Tom works at Cal Sier- ra Title Company. "He's kept his day job," said Chris, "something you have to do when you own a business. Somebody has to bring in the money to buy the food." For 16 years, Chris worked in a variety of positions at Plumas Rural Services, end- ing with six years as the computer tech support per- son. She also worked as night librarian at Feather River College for six years and at the county library. Books have always been a vital part of life for Chris and Tom. In fact, Chris worked as a clerk at Epilog Books when she first moved to Quincy, "so it was like' coming home," she said. The Crawfords can't go hiking or camping without taking four or five books apiece. "You find your place, sit down, read, enjoy your surroundings. That's been our passion." It was, then, only a small leap to buying the bookstore when it came up for sale, Chris added. To many, how- ever, that might have seemed like a small leap off a large cliff. They received ad- vice from many people, in- cluding a consultant from the Sierra Business Council. "He told us not to do it. 'Man, you're crazy,' he said.. We just ignored him." Besides their love of books, wha{ drove them was a belief that a viable town must have a bookstore. "We couldn't let Quincy not have a bookstore," Chris said. "You love books, you want to go to a bookstore." Chris admits that it's been somewhat tough in the cur- rent dismal economy. She finds a light even there, how- ever, in the incredibl3; sup- portive Quincy community. People "come in and thank us for being here," she said. Customers are very aware of the importance of shop- ping locally, she added. Es- pecially at Christmas, she was amazed at how many people made a point of say- ing they were shopping at home. "That's all we can ask for," said Crawford, "try us first." She said that sometimes peo- ple would call and ask for something she couldn't get, but she'll always thank them for trying her first. More often than not, how- ever, it works the other way. Her favorite, she said, is the customer who comes in and says, "It's a book, it's got a red cover and a picture of a flower on it, and it's kind of about this." Danea Huffman, one of Crawford's two em- ployees, is a master at this game. She'll almost always find the book. Sometimes people don't even know what they want. Perhaps they like a particu- lar genre or a certain era. Those customers, too, will come away with a book to their liking. Epilog has memberships in several independent book- sellers organizations, includ- ing American Booksellers Association and Northern California Independent Booksellers Associatiori. These help Crawford to know "what's happening in the industry, what's avail- able ... how to keep your business viable and thriv- ing." It's also good customer service to know what's out there and how to access it, she said. At the large chain bookstores, if an item isn't in their system, they can't find it. For example, if a customer wants to know who the most recent Nobel laureates are, said Chris, she and her staff know where to find that in- formation, including Nobel winners and nominees by year. If they don't have the book in stock, Epilog can order it quickly, and there's no charge for shipping. Crawford is a firm believ- er in the hands-on approach. She notes the importance of Chris Crawford has owned Epilog Books in Quincy with her husband, Tom, since 2006. She stands in front of the most popular section in her store, which has books of local interest and books by local authors. Photo by Linda Satchwell being able to come in and pick up a book and look it over before buying it. She feels that a bookstore should always be open: "It's a book- store. You can't be closed. You just can't. People expect you to be there." Books on the local area and~ books by local authors are Epilog's most popular. Crawford schedules book signings for local authors, and she helps promote and publicize these. A few authors with a fol- lowing-like John Probst, former Feather River Col- lege drama director and au- thor of "Where the Hell is Quincy?" along with local historian and Plumas Coun- ty Museum director Scott Lawson--are very popular at these events. Epilog also sells local arts and crafts on consignment. as a way of supporting the local arts scene. Her hus- band, Tom, and his brother build fairy houses in their spare time. Chris said they used to go to crafts shows, pay the fees, lug everything around, and maybe sell one or two pieces. She and Tom decided if they ever had a retail store, they would offer a space where artists could show their work year round. The fee, she said, is less than what one or two shows a year would cost. Epilog also supports artists by featuring them on its website and in its ads. In addition, the store car- ries CDs by local musicians, and it is the ticket outlet for many local events. Another less obvious way that the Crawfords support the community is by work- ing with other businesses to make sure that they don't carry items in their store that other stores are carry- ing. When they bought the business, Chris said, she had the former owner take out all of the non-book items, be- cause a number of them were also sold in other Quin- cy businesses. Even now, Chris said, lo- cal storeowners will touch base with each other and make sure that they aren't infringing on each other's business. It's just another form of community support, as far as Chris is concerned. Epilog Books can be found online at 283book.corn, which is also its phone num- ber. The store is on Face- book as well, which lists bookstore events, and there is a Facebook link on the website. Finally, Epilog Books hap- pily supports the community by employing two excellent part,time staff members as well: Theresa Crews and Danea Huffman. Individual * Business, Non-Profit Electronic Filing • Quick Refunds Mary Cheek, EA, CPA Certified Public Accountant Licensed to practice by the IRS 258-1040 130 E. Willow St., Chester (Next to Chevron) , MaryCheekCPA@FrontierNet.Net Over 18 years experience K.N. BARNARD, EA JOHN BREAUX, CMA, CFM BARNARD & ASSOCIATES Business and Tax Consultants 546 Lawrence Street Quincy, CA 95971-9432 Bus: (530) 283-3965 Res: (530) 836-0349 Fax: (530) 283-4369 Bequette & Kimmel Accountancy Corporation John A. Kimmel C.P.A. & Roberta Allen C,P.A. CPATM The CPA. Never Underestimate The Value. 307 W. 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