Our Program on Tuesday, May 17th was Ann Woodbeck – owner of Excelsior Bay Book Store at 36 Water Street in Excelsior.  Randy Schumacher introduced Ann by saying he has known her for years as she sang in his choir (a very good singer) at St. Luke’s and noted a quote, “Literacy is a bridge between misery and hope!” 
Ann started by saying she and her husband Dale have lived in the community for 38 years and their kids attended school here and love this community.  Fifteen years ago Ann was invited by the previous owners Ann Nye and Ellie Temple, who opened and then ran the bookstore together for nearly 24 years, to come work with them and then several years ago inquired if Ann would like to buy their book store.  Ann and Dale were not sure if they wanted to buy but then took the leap.  It was difficult to make it through the Covid years but they re-invented themselves by becoming innovative in serving their very supportive local residents.  The national media emphasis on buying local and supporting local businesses was very helpful.  They devised methods to sell their books by numbering them and their front display window and customers could choose and transact business without going inside and even delivering books bought on-line.  Their business boomed and they were ordering books daily during the pandemic and like other businesses they had to deal with supply chain issues.
Ann, Dale and their wonderful part-time staff have had a great time serving this community and even getting support now from a much wider community due to the quaint small town (and dog friendly) atmosphere in Excelsior.  She noted that “It is a lot of work but a great experience!” They have gone to a new four season ordering system that allows local book store owners to personalize their selection to meet the needs and demands of their community.  Ann smiles and says, “It’s a ball in the summertime with all the people out walking downtown in our vital community and to get to know people by name.  It’s great!”  In the Q&A Ann noted that William Kruger is very popular (selling over 200 of his books) and they will have a special signing event this fall for him at Excelsior Bay Books.