Dundee Book Co. finally has a place to call home

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Sara Meadows
CONTRIBUTOR

All are encouraged to pay a visit to Dundee Book Company’s new small storefront in the heart of Dundee. Photo courtesy of Dundee Book Company on Facebook.

What started as a pop-up operation on a handmade book cart has now fully transformed into a unique book shop in the heart of Dundee.

Ted and Nicole Wheeler started the Dundee Book Company in the summer of 2017. The company did five to 10 events a month at many locations including the Dundee Theater, BlueBarn Theater, Pageturners Lounge and Brothers Lounge. They also did special events like book release parties.

Since they were 100% event based, the pandemic made it challenging for them to stay open and they had to shut down for most of 2020. Earlier this year, they found a perfect location at 4914 Underwood Ave., where they opened their first brick and mortar location and can be found on the main floor of the historic house.

“That block is where we always dreamed of opening a bookstore and we couldn’t be happier there,”Wheeler said.

They built all the bookshelves themselves and still have the original handmade book cart they used in the beginning of their operation. Since they have a small shop, every book they stock there has a reason behind it. They are proud of their poetry collection and specialize in books in translation.

“We’re a little something different,” says Wheeler.

They offer bilingual poetry editions and a few titles in Spanish and French. They both love to travel and gain exposure to other languages and cultures, which influences them a lot. Ted Wheeler is also a novelist, and they are very involved with the local literary scene — as a result, they have quite a few titles from local authors.

Wheeler says his favorite thing about the bookstore is being able to meet new people who come into the store. It is a fantastic way to connect with people in the community, and he says being able to stand behind the counter and have all these interesting people cross paths in their store is an extremely rewarding thing. They both still have other full-time jobs, so it can be very difficult to manage the shop on top of their other work.

“What keeps us going is the way that people use the space to engage with new ideas and connect with each other,” says Wheeler.

They get a wide variety of people who come into the store, including students, professors, neighborhood kids, dog walkers, community activists and people just killing time until their brunch order is ready next door.

“Sometimes I’m not sure how people found us, but I’m sure glad they do,” says Wheeler.

Their idea from the beginning was to give more visibility to books and to show how so many of us appreciate and treasure a shared culture without even realizing it. Wheeler says bookstores help bring communities closer in this way, by having a meeting place for people to have discussions, make connections and learn something new.

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