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Sunday Stories

Read it Again Bookstore offers thousands of titles

February 19th, 2012 5:45 pm by Staff Report

Read it Again Bookstore offers thousands of titles

Customers can trade books both inside and outside a particular book genre.

By Pam Cox


HILTONS, Va. - Growing up, sisters Linda Nunley and Barbara Penley were surrounded by books. Their mother was an avid reader and encouraged her daughters to do the same.


"Mom would sometimes read two books a day, but always started with her Bible," Penley said. "All of us used to joke that we had enough books to open our own bookstore."


Both had their own lives and jobs - Linda worked for the Postal Service and Barbara worked for the state prison system. When their mother became ill in 2010, both re-focused their lives. Linda quit her part-time job to help her mother, who died in July of 2010.


After their mother’s passing, the sisters wanted to do something in tribute to the woman who loved to read and who also developed their love of books. They found a vacant building, located at 120 A.P. Carter Highway, and were able to rent the store.


"We started on a wing and a prayer," Penley said.


"Everything just fell into place, and it was like Mom was looking down and providing advice and guidance," she said.


The sisters opened Read it Again Bookstore in October, just a few months after their mother’s passing. Due in part to their huge personal collection of books, the sisters were able to open the store "debt-free," Nunley explained.


"The first day we carried books in the place, and it looked so large that we just sat the boxes right down in the middle of the floor," Penley said.


Between them, they had six bookshelves to hold their massive book collection. They talked their brother into building more shelves and then purchased additional shelving when a local video store went out of business.


"When people walk in, they see all of these mismatched shelves, but they serve the purpose," Penley added. Books are arranged by genres and authors, and Read it Again Bookstore now has thousands of titles.


"We carry a lot of Christian fiction, in particular the Kingsbury series," Nunley pointed out. Books are reasonably priced with a standard price being half the cover price, and additionally they take book trade-ins.


"If the new price of a book is $10, then our price would be $5. If you have a book to trade, then we give you an additional one-fourth off the cover price so your price would be $2.50 for a $10 book," Penley explained.


Customers can trade books both inside and outside a particular book genre.


"We feel a book is a book, so you can trade Christian fiction for a murder mystery," Penley said. This book trade concept has increased Read it Again Bookstore’s volume ten-fold.


Since they had a mother who encouraged them to read, Penley and Nunley are also advocates of giving books to children. They additionally supply books to the federal prison in Lee County at a discounted price.


"I send them all kinds of books, except for one," Nunley said.


"I don’t send true crime books because I figure they know enough about that," she laughed.


As word of the bookstore spread throughout the community, people would stop in and ask if the sisters also had clothes or shoes.


"The space next door was vacant, and we prayed and pondered, and then pondered and prayed that if we opened a thrift store, where would we get clothing donations?" Penley said.


Then one day an angel in the form of a "dear friend" walked in and told Nunley she had some good used clothes to give away.


"The Lord simply guided us," Penley said.


With no cash to buy clothing racks, the sisters’ sons made clothing racks from two-by-fours and iron pipe. And with that, Betty Bee’s Thrift Shoppe was born.


"We offer good used clothing at the lowest price we can," Penley said. "Jeans and shirts typically sell for $3."


Since Nunley and Penley feel the Lord has blessed them, they decided to pass along their appreciation to others. They donate a portion of the sales from the thrift store to the Scott County Humane Society. Their donation generally covers the cost of a neuter or spay for two dogs a month. The store also provides a tax receipt for clothing donations.


Read it Again Bookstore and Betty Bee’s Thrift Shoppe are located across from the Shell Service Station on the A.P. Carter Highway, and are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Linda and Barbara look forward to meeting new people and making friends with other book lovers.

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