A life of books and happy people
Bookstore owner engages in local government, organic food
By Jennifer Ladwig, Moscow-Pullman Daily News staff writer, July 10, 2018
Life has taken her around the nation and the world, and she landed in Moscow, running a bookstore.
Carol Price, owner and manager of BookPeople of Moscow, has run the business since midnight Dec. 29, 2011. She took over the store, which first opened in 1973, after its previous owner retired.
“It’s really cool to be carrying on an institution like this, as old as BookPeople. I’m happy to be a part of that,” she said.
Price ended up in Moscow on a whim. Having grown up in Iowa, Price moved to Missoula, Mont., for graduate school to get a master’s in literature. She then moved to Alaska and eventually Moscow for a job at Brused Books.
Bruce Calkins, the owner of Brused Books, and Price became friends through contra dancing, one of Price’s many hobbies. He offered Price a job, and she accepted.
“I’m really glad [I accepted the job] – I love it here,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”
While in Moscow, Price has engaged in the local organic scene. A pivotal moment in her relationship with food came when she purchased “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” a book by Michael Pollan. She said it was one of those books that when she saw it, she had to buy it; it changed her perspective on food and where it comes from.
In the years since then, she has tried to eat local and organic food. She shops at the farmers market and the Moscow Food Co-op. She purchases directly from farmers. She buys meat from Vandals Meats. She also grows some of her own veggies, and she has some fruit trees as well as herb plants. At one point, she had her own chickens, but does not currently.
Price’s love of food can be seen in many aspects of her life. She worked at the co-op for a time, and she even traveled to France and Ireland with her son to work on organic farms in 2007 and 2008.
She has also been a freelance writer, writing for the co-op newsletter as well as for other local and regional media outlets, including the Washington State Magazine and the Daily News. She ended up writing a food column for The Spokesman-Review about cooking with your children, which she did while she was raising her son, who is now almost 18 years old.
She has also made it a point to expand the cookbook section at BookPeople.
Price said she had always wanted to run a bookstore, but she had not expected to do it so early. After the previous owner’s retirement, she was approached about taking the business over, and she and her business partner, Stefan Werner, took on the challenge. She said it is far more than a full-time job, but that is what she learned is required to be a successful business owner.
“The most important thing I have figured out is to be there every day, to not lose focus of what the goal is: Make sure the customer is getting what they want first, then everything else falls into place,” Price said.
Although she’s pretty much always working, Price said her job makes her happy because of the customers she gets to see and the people she works with.
“Most people who are in here are happy all the time,” she said. “It’s not a place where people are grouchy, generally, so I enjoy being a good part of people’s day – that’s very satisfying.”
For the original article and photos, please visit the Daily News site.