Last night as part of my MC duties, I got to present Jim Brinkman of Books and Company with the first-ever Coldsnap Person of the Year Award (that’s me holding an ice sculpture for him to smash, “breaking the ice” to open the festival). Books and Company has been a staple of this city for as long as I can remember, and hosts everything from open mics to chess clubs to various philosophy discussions put on by UNBC professors back in my undergrad days.
More than a bookstore, Books and Company calls itself Prince George’s Living Room, a title it has more than earned. It’s a store, but it feels more like a public space where people gather to find out what’s happening around the community, meet friends, and just hang out.
More important than attracting a lot of people, I think, is the type of people Books and Company brings together. Jim gave a short speech last night where he espoused the importance of live theater, meeting your neighbours, and taking a chance on seeing unknown musicians rather than the million-selling superstars. The importance of being a local as defined in this post by Steve Corona:
The gift of Books and Company and the businesses and spaces like them is their ability to cater to these locals and then bring others into the fold, creating more and more “locals” in the process. The more people are willing to discover the unique treats this location has to offer, the healthier our community will be.
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