A new bookstore celebrated its grand opening in the Town of Herndon on Small Business Saturday. A Thousand Stories Herndon Books is located in the Arts Herndon building at 750 Center Street. The shop is the brainchild of co-owners Michelle Ratto and Beth Luke.
"This has been a nice opening day for us," Luke said as she looked around the space, which featured a curated selection of 1,500 titles. Luke recounted the moment before the bookstore's launch when it went from a vision to a reality. Items had been arriving piecemeal.
"But one day, a giant pallet got here. And once we started putting those on the shelves, we were like, ‘Oh, this is really happening,'" Luke said.
Pleased to partner with Arts Herndon, Ratto said that the store features new books, focusing mainly on children and young adults with a little bit of adult mixed in and gift items. "Things like mugs, puzzles, stuffed animals, and things like that you can pair with a book, and... there is gift wrapping," Ratto said.
Arts Herndon, a nonprofit organization, not a town program, offers a local gathering place to celebrate and advance the arts in Herndon. "A Thousand Stories will be doing book talks in the gallery," Joanna Ormesher, president of Arts Herndon said. Arts Herndon celebrates the visual and performing arts and the literary arts, including poetry, prose, and open mic events.
In collaboration with Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander, author of the tween favorite "Rebound," and the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Herndon has presented the one-day Children’s Literary Festival. Alexander, an American writer of poetry and children's fiction, lived in Herndon and brought many of his new books to the Arts Herndon space, as have other local authors like Chuck Mauro and Barbara Glakas. A Thousand Books will feature a local author section soon in its shop.
Ormesher also said that Arts Herndon would again participate in the Fall for the Book literary festival at George Mason University. She plans to work with A Thousand Stories on that event.
As the afternoon waned, Town Councilmember-elect Clark Hedrick sat on the brightly colored rug with his wife, Elizabeth, surrounded by their three children. The little ones carefully selected books off the shelves and brought them to their parents, snuggling into their laps.
Nearby, Sara Hovell of Herndon, with her daughter Ava, 8, said, "We are looking for gifts for cousins."
A gentleman stood at the counter and paid for his new book. A young girl reached for a small stuffed animal and asked her mom if she could have it.
"From a blank room to this, we're super excited with the progress so far," Ratto said.A Thousand Stories is open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; and is closed on Sundays. Visit www.athousandstoriesherndon.com for more information on book clubs, storytimes, and offerings.