The Goose is a great old-fashioned small-town shop where the employees read most of the books and know most of their customers by name. There’s no web site or blog, no e-book display, nothing snazzy about it. This is where you go to buy a book made out of paper and maybe to wonder how or why we got to a place where that notion might seem quaint or old-fashioned. When we asked what CD would make a good soundtrack for the store, the Goose staff described an old Miles Davis record as “comfy and familiar, yet still fresh and intriguing well into middle age.” Which is a nice way to describe their store, too. Co-owner Kristine Kaufman began her bookselling career by typing orders at the UO bookstore in Eugene. Then she managed the trade department at the University of Utah bookstore, and from there she managed Park Place Books in Kirkland until she bought the Goose in 1998. We asked Kaufman a few questions.
Square feet? 1300 on our sales floor
Number of Employees? 4
Neighborhood? We’re on Main Street in downtown Stanwood, across the street from the Amtrak station, and surrounded by other locally owned small retailers and restaurants.
What makes your store unique? Our eclectic selection and small-town friendliness.
If Snow Goose were a book, what book would it be? Well, The Snow Goose actually is a book, a wonderful old novella by Paul Gallico. First published in 1941, it’s still in print and always on the shelf here at the Goose.
Who are your regulars? We’re in the center of a very diverse area. Our customers are young farming families and retired academics, people with local roots that go back generations and tourists just passing through. In other words, readers.
What are some of the other businesses you frequent in your neighborhood? Right here in our neighborhood are Gallery By the Bay, a wonderful art gallery featuring local artists; Pinchknitter Yarns; and Laurie’s Boutique.
What’s the best lunch within walking distance? Jasmin Thai Cuisine just across the street from us
Will you name a couple of books that have been popular handsellers at Snow Goose recently? Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons, The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walters, Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker, A Duty to the Dead and An Impartial Witness by Charles Todd
A CD that would make a great soundtrack for your store? Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. Comfy and familiar, yet still fresh and intriguing well into middle age.
Name a book blog or website you frequent? As I’ve never even learned how to drive a car, I don’t feel entirely comfortable on the information highway. Instead, I read the old-fashioned blog format called “newspapers” – two of them every day – full of insightful information and commentary. Plus, they’re great for mulching the garden.
Okay, which two “old-fashioned blogs” do you read? I read The New York Times with my lunch and the Seattle Times with my dinner, which handily enough provides me with a crossword to do with breakfast the next day.
What gift items sell well for you? We sell lots of cards and journals, but our best-selling sidelines are two games, Banagrams and Quiddler; cashmere and silk scarves imported from India by Pearl Mahal in Seattle; and handmade jewelry from several local jewelers.
Will you and a couple of staff members recommend a few books?
Provenance by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo. “The true story of a brilliant con man and a talented forger who together wrecked havoc on the rarified world of modern art. It’s a great read, and will make you really think about what turns some pieces of art into ‘masterpieces.’ “—Kristine Kaufman