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The Next Chapter

Literacy Volunteers reopens with bookstore

Submitted Photo Julie LaGrow, executive director of Literacy Volunteers of Chautauqua County, is pictured at the organization’s Park Place location in Fredonia.

The Literacy Volunteers of Chautauqua County has reopened its bookstore following renovations from the Small Business Revolution.

On June 18, the newly named bookstore, “The Next Chapter Bookstore,” reopened for business. The store was shut down for a few weeks, allowing staff and the Deluxe team to reorganize the store.

“With the generosity of the community that included ten new bookcases and plenty of newly donated books to help fill them,” the organization said. “We could never have reopened without the dedication of our volunteers who work so hard to organize, staff, and keep the bookstore clean under the new guidelines.”

According to the volunteers, there are plenty of books for everybody, no matter the age or background, but the biggest bonanza has been in the children’s department — story books, chapter books and books for young adults.

Growing accustomed to the new standards, the bookstore is assuring that customers will now find a hands-free hand sanitizer dispenser. Visitors and shoppers are required to wear a mask and to maintain social distancing while in the store.

“Our mission of supporting the work of Literacy Volunteers of Chautauqua County remains our guiding star,” the organization said. “Towards that end, we continue to look for new volunteers to help staff the bookstore as we pursue our goal of being open more days of the week.”

Other than running the bookstore, the Literacy Volunteers of Chautauqua County does many things for the community. In an interview with Amanda Brinkman, Small Business Revolution co-host, executive director Julie LaGrow explained all of the selfless things the organization does for its community. In Fredonia, it is the sole provider of one-on-one tutoring; they teach adults how to read, do math and help them to pass their high school equivalency exam. The organization also teaches people how to speak English and offer technological support for those who do not know how to use it.

“We want to be able to drive more students who need our services to us,” LaGrow said. “We want to attract more volunteers to work in our bookstore or become tutors, and we always want more donated books to come in.”

LaGrow said the Small Business Revolution team renovated in the building and helped behind the scenes.

“They are as genuine as they seem to be on TV, they really care. They really want you to succeed,” LaGrow said. “You can just feel it from every one of them, from camera people to Amanda. They’re fantastic people who set out to do a good thing and they have.”

The renovations include private tutoring spaces, an office, electrical work for new lighting, and more tools for students to supplement their tutoring. One of the tools includes a projector, which will allow the center to provide classes in the future. LaGrow explained that the center now has a more cohesive and professional overall look, including the new branding.

“Though only seven of us were chosen, countless businesses were supported by the show,” LaGrow said. “They hired local businesses to provide services including construction, electrical, paint, and others. It’s fantastic how much money has been circulated here.”

The Literacy Volunteers recently (end of 2019) moved to their Fredonia location, from Dunkirk because they needed more space.

“We felt like we were doing really well with the move and growing,” LaGrow said. “But then COVID-19 hit. The show couldn’t have come at a better time, as they helped us through the time we needed it the most. They supported us through the whole thing and guided us with their hand to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The Next Chapter Bookstore is now open from Wednesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will be a special sidewalk sale on Aug. 15, where people will be able to come shop and get a sneak peek of the changes that Small Business Revolution has done.

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