Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

December 1, 2013

YOU SHOULD KNOW: Brad Weirich of Better World Books

Book store manager adds personal touch to downtown

GOSHEN — When Brad Weirich was in college, he wrote an editorial about owning his own bookstore one day.

“I promptly put it away and forgot about it,” said Weirich said now the retail manager of Goshen’s Better World Books. “My mom found it and gave it to me when we opened (the bookstore) in Goshen five years ago. Books always have been an important part of my life. I have a great interest in books.”

Better World Books has been an important part of Goshen’s downtown experience ever since it opened. The past summer, Weirich relocated the bookstore to the former Town & Country Appliances store at 215 S. Main Street after being on East Washington Street since 2008.

“I didn’t expect to expand even though I had dreams,” he said. “I have dreams of expanding more now. We opened when the economy tanked a little bit and didn’t know we’d make it past the first year. It’s been five years and we’re doing pretty good.”

The move allowed Weirich to triple the floor space for his inventory and occurred six months sooner than he originally anticipated.

Weirich said the idea to move to a location on Main Street came from a meeting in the spring about the future of the Goshen Theater directly across the street.

“I wanted to be a part of Main Street. I thought it was a great idea — moving,” Weirich said, smiling. “Business is good. It’s about what I predicted. The more product on the shelves, the more profit margin we have and more growth to happen. We have better exposure on Main Street rather than on a side street.”

The store offers about 30,000 new and used books, with 85 percent of the inventory being used books.

“I am a lot smarter about the types of books and knowing what our customers like,” he said. “I have six employees now, up from four on the side-street location. My employees interact with the customers. It’s important to be engaging with the customers and know what they like.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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