Local Business Spotlight: Jan's
This month we are speaking with Lori Carroll, owner of Jan's, a local book shop specializing in paperbacks, friendly service, and supporting local authors since 1981.
Phil: Thanks for talking with us today Lori. How did you come to own a book store?
Lori: Jan started the store in 1981 in Aloha with humble beginnings. Jan's husband built the bookcases and everything was done on paper index cards. After about 20 years Jan was ready to retire and sold the store to an employee named Debbie. She updated the store with computerized records and kept the store thriving. I moved to Oregon in 2004 and was a Beaverton Paperbacks customer. When that store closed, Jan's took on the credit of customers like me, so I found myself happily going to Jan's Paperbacks (as it was formerly named). When Borders closed down, Jan's took over hosting the Romance Book Club as well, so Jan's kept bringing more customers. Debbie also did a great job of hosting fun author events which I helped out at. Over time Debbie was ready to step away from the store and offered to sell it to me. I took over in 2018.
Phil: When did you move the store from Aloha to downtown Beaverton?
Lori: Unfortunately, immediately. The lease came up right when I took over and we had to move. It was a lot to take on the business and also learn very quickly about commercial property, permits, leases, etc. I just had to dive in. Our current location has been wonderful and I can't wait to start hosting sidewalk sales and author events again in May.
Phil: With so much competition from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, how does a shop like yours thrive so well?
Lori: Community; our customers are amazing. Many have come from other stores like we were talking about and others find us while walking in downtown Beaverton. Some of our faster readers come every other day to buy new books. Even with all the technology out there, people love to see and hold what they are buying.
Phil: Do you only trade and sell paperbacks?
Lori: We sell several things actually. We also carry local artist goods such as hand-made cards, pottery, origami art, and planters made from recycled goods. We sell mainly used books because it makes the most financial sense, as well as being good for the environment to reuse something. Our most popular genres are fiction with Suspense, Mystery and Romance. When you trade in a book you receive 25% store credit on any book we are able to take. When you buy a used book it is 50% off the cover price, unless marked otherwise, and any credit a customer has can be used for half of the 50% price.
Phil: After the last few years being so difficult for small businesses, what does the future hold for Jan's?
Lori: Each year I take on new projects to make the shop better, but this year I look forward to getting back to events like book sales and showcasing authors. Well-known authors like Phillip Margolin, and local authors, would come to the shop to promote their books. The best way to keep up-to-date on future events is by signing up for our newsletter. You can find it on our website. I've brought on new employees recently. I'm hoping to bring back our coffee cart soon! Otherwise, I look forward to growing our community of book lovers and supporting other small businesses in Beaverton.
Jan's is located at 12320 SW 1st Street, Beaverton.503-649-3444More info at JansPaperbacks.com