Decades-old Denver bookstore gears up for Small Business Saturday

DENVER — Small Business Saturday started as a movement to support local shops around the U.S. in 2010. Over the years, the event has become something of an event for small businesses in the metro area as well. One of the shops participating in this year’s Small Business Saturday is The Bookies, a children’s bookstore that has been in southeast Denver for decades.

The owner, Sue Lubeck, created The Bookies in the 1970s at a time when there weren’t many book buying options in the area.

“At the time we started, I believe there was only one children’s bookstore in Denver,” said Lubeck. “We just felt that we needed more. We needed better and we needed more.”

So, Lubeck would pick up books from distributors, store them in her home, then deliver them or have people swing by to pick them up. However, it wasn’t long before her book collection took on a life of its own.

“We realized it was just too much going on in a house; we needed a store,” Lubeck said. “It kind of came naturally because we just couldn’t handle what was happening in my home.”

The Bookies found its home in a strip mall on Mississippi (4315 E. Mississippi Ave., Denver, CO 80246) and has been there for close to 30 years.

Over time, a lot has changed in the bookstore business.

“Well, we have Amazon, for one thing. That’s made a big difference,” said Lubeck.

Despite the competition online, The Bookies has remained, thanks in part to its loyal customers.

Luke Henderson, events coordinator at The Bookies, believes it is a bit of a generational effect.

“A person came in and said they came into [Lubeck’s] basement. They brought their children into the store. Now, [they’re] bringing [their] grandchildren,” he said.

With a diverse selection of books, community events and knowledgeable staff on hand, The Bookies keeps people coming back.

When asked whether she is going to retire, Lubeck said, “I hope I don’t have to,” adding, “I hope it’s that happy place people are talking about.”

The Bookies will have authors, artists, giveaways, sales and more this Saturday as part of Small Business Saturday.

Aubrey Morse wrote this report.

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