Weather Forecast


Bjerknes to plead guilty to state and federal charges

Red Door Bookstore hits milestone; Volunteer program passes $100,000 in sales

(Left to right) Mary Lou Marchand, Red Door Bookstore committee member, and Sharon Geisen, Friends of the Library president, stand in front of the Red Door Bookstore. Malachi Petersen | Bemidji Pionee

BEMIDJI-- The Red Store Bookstore is red hot with success.

The bookstore has surpassed the $100,000 mark reaching $100,176.63 in sales by March 31, according to store operators.

Located inside the Bemidji Public Library, the store, which was started in 2003 by the Friends of the Library organization, sells used books, audio cassettes, CDs, and board games at discounted prices. Prices for books range from $3 for hardcover books to 10 cents for special "Red Cart" items.

The store is ran by volunteers, which according to Friends of the Library committee member Mary Lou Marchand, makes the $100,000 mark that much more significant.

"We have 50 volunteers that take the shifts that are available to keep the bookstore open," Marchand said, "So that's part of the reason that we think this is an important milestone."

Sharon Geisen, president of Friends of the Library, said about 90 percent of the profit from sales is donated to the library to fund various activities such as the Summer Reading Program. The rest is for upkeep costs associated with the bookstore.

Geisen said the bookstore sells about 19,000 items a year.

"When they started it they really had no clue as to how successful this would be, so we're just as happy and surprised as anybody else that it's been so successful," she said.

Paul Ericsson, the Bemidji Library Branch Manager, said donations from the bookstore allow the library to purchase new materials.

"I've worked it quite a few libraries in quite a few states, and I've never seen as dedicated group as Friends of the Library or as successful a used book operation in a library environment as we have here," Ericsson said.

Geisen and Marchand said the bookstore is looking forward to continuing its mission.

"Look for the next milestone -- $200,000," Geisen said.