Gary Rogers and Wil Evarts are co-owners, along with their wives, of Candee’s Nook, Keizer’s new used bookstore (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

In an age when an actual book, the kind that requires muscle tone to turn a page, is seeming more and more like a relic of a bygone era, some Keizer businesses owners are planning to do their best to keep the tradition alive.

It may sound like someone trying to turn back the tide, but Candee’s Nook, already had that unmistakable smell of ink and old paper days before it officially opened.

“I don’t know if there’s any right time (to open a bookstore), but there are people out there who like to have a book in their hands. There are people who love the smell, feel and heft of a book and it helps them get into a story,” said Gary Rogers, one of the store’s four co-owners. Partners in the shop include his wife, Carla, and Wil and Candee Evarts.

Candee’s Nook offers a selection of children’s, Christian, general fiction, non-fiction, western, suspense and science fiction as well as rare books with a few dating as far back as the 1830s and running through the 1930s. The store includes a children’s area and reading chairs.

The only thing they don’t carry is paperback romance novels.

They’ll offer some of the heavy hitters in the genre, but anything like the Harlequin Romance series, is just as likely to end up on the “free table” outside the shop.Wil Evarts started offering some of his wife’s old books online in 2010 and met with a degree of success that enticed Rogers to join him.

“We had a great first year and then the e-readers took off in the second year and that hurt sales,” Evarts said.

In the meantime, the group had compiled a not-insubstantial catalog of book that were sitting in a storage unit.

“We’d bandied the idea of opening a store back and forth since we started selling books online, but it was when we realized that we were paying for storage and only we could see the books that it started to make sense,” Rogers said. “We figured if people could see the books, we’d at least have a few more sales.”

Candee’s is not buying new books or offering a trade-in program, but plans to offer coupons to customers who purchase a book from the store and then returns it to the shop for their next read.

Rogers and Evarts are hoping to establish Candee’s as a neighborhood hangout for the bookish.

“Come in sit down and read a book for three hours, we don’t mind,” Rogers said.

“Bring your kids and tell your neighbors,” added Evarts.