By ROGER SCHNEIDER
Books and brews are now under one roof along Goshen’s Main Street.
On Monday, the Better World Books store opened at its new location inside the former Town & County Appliances store at 215 S. Main St. Inside the new Better World Books is a compact version of The Electric Brew, which now allows book buyers to browse with a latte in hand.
Wednesday morning, Brew owner Myron Bontrager took a seat at a table at his mini-café in the book store and explained how it came about.
“We have the same types of customers,” Bontrager said. “They go back and forth. And frankly, if Barnes & Nobles and Starbucks can do it at the corporate level, then darn it, we should be able to do it on a local level. And I hope it sends a message on the local level that two businesses can work together.”
Brad Weirich, manager at Better World Books, agreed.
“And when we succeed,” he said, “downtown succeeds.”
The Brew at Better World Books offers a half dozen flavors of coffees and two low-calorie flavors, according to barista Sarah Toews, while the main restaurant offers more than 20 flavors.
After just a few days of exposure on busy Main Street, Weirich said he has noticed an increase in interest in the bookstore.
“We have seen a pretty good influx of people who have never seen us before,” he said.
The store is currently utilizing the expansive space that formerly housed the Town & County Appliance store, and before that an office supply store. The store is being leased from owner Allan Kauffman, Goshen’s mayor.
Weirich said there is plenty of space to expand, including a second floor.
The store offers about 30,000 new and used books, which were carried to the new store last Sunday by 35 volunteers, many of whom are steady customers, according to Weirich.
“Sure, it’s a business,” Weirich said. “But we have always been very customer-focused. We exist to serve the customer here. We are built around what the customers want.”
So, he said, it wasn’t surprising that so many people turned out on their day off to help the store’s staff with the relocation.
“We also give back to literacy organizations and that makes people feel good about what we do,” he said. “It’s good to be here and help here. It certainly makes me feel good.”
Weirich and Bontrager will combine their efforts to reward the loyalty of their customers in the coming weeks by creating a joint loyalty card. Customers will be able to earn points for their purchases at either store and use those points at The Electric Brew or Better World Books.
One of the reasons for the loyalty program, according to Weirich, is his goal of creating continuity in downtown shops.
“Downtown is doing well,” he said, “But it can hit another level.”
The book store’s move is the first part of a downtown reshuffle. With the book store’s relocation from 118 E. Washington St. to Main Street, the empty book store will be filled by The Electric Brew, which is currently at 136 S. Main St. Once the Brew moves later this month, JoJo Pretzel’s will open a store in the former Brew location.