PLATTSBURGH — A new store has allowed a local man to start a new chapter and realize a lifelong desire.
Steve McDonald recently opened Lake City Books at 164 Boynton Ave.
The shop features new and what he described as “gently read” books, which are used books in like-new condition.
Customers can buy, sell or trade books and movies. There is also a small cafe, with coffee, tea, hot chocolate and baked goods, such as muffins, turnovers and doughnuts.
Several tables and chairs are located near a bank of windows along the southern wall, adding to the shop’s bright interior. Free wireless Internet service is available.
McDonald said the business gives him a chance to meet new people and serve the needs of those who prefer print to digital media.
“I’m still convinced there is a segment of the population that prefers print media,” he said.
Two who share that train of thought were at the store Tuesday morning. Jan Stanley and Tamia Gastio, sitting together with some hot beverages and snacks, both said they were pleased that the bookstore had opened.
“I was so excited. I live right in the neighborhood, so I can walk over,” Stanley said.
Gastio said a bookstore is a special place to her, with everything the imagination could desire, from history to travel to humor to fiction. Lake City Books reminds her of Barnes and Noble, just on a smaller scale.
“I just like the ambiance of this place,” she said.
Stanley said a book provides a sense of possession that electronic readers can’t match.
“I still like curling up with a good book. There’s nothing like it,” she said.
McDonald said bookstores have been in his family for years.
His mother, Wanda McDonald, owned Half Price Bookstore in downtown Plattsburgh for about two decades, until she sold it in the mid ’90s.
“As a young man in high school and college, that was my first job,” he said.
The new owner there went out of business after only a few years, and McDonald said he had kicked himself for not taking over the business at that time.
But he was busy with career and family then.
He spent about 25 years as a representative for some Fortune 500 companies, but retired after he was diagnosed with cancer about 2 1/2 years ago. After surgery and treatment, his doctor told him everything looked good, so he felt it was time to find a new occupation.
That was about six months ago.
In June, McDonald went to New Hartford, Conn., and purchased the entire inventory of a bookstore there.
He loaded up about 25,000 books and the bookcases from the store, drove them up to Plattsburgh and kept them in storage until a few weeks ago.
WORD OF MOUTH
McDonald said his family has been very supportive as he prepared to open.
“If it weren’t for my wife, Chris, and daughter, Maeghan, I don’t think I would have this,” he said. “I never would’ve got this off the ground without them.”
Lake City Books is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Business has been good, he said, as word of mouth seems to be calling attention to the new store. He was especially busy on Nov. 30, which was Small-Business Saturday.
“I’m not looking to make a fortune. I hope to make enough to pay the bills and not go into debt,” McDonald said.
Email Dan Heath:firstname.lastname@example.org