Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

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Turning a Page at McLean & Eakin Booksellers

Rick Coates - November 25th, 2013  

It has been 21 years since Julie Norcross opened the doors to McLean & Eakin Booksellers in downtown Petoskey. Her son and daughter-in-law Matt and Jessilyn Norcross bought the store from her four years ago. Despite a changing marketplace in the book industry, the store continues to flourish.

“We have tried to follow my mother’s philosophy and that is not to go to war on price but to go to war on customer service,” said Matt Norcross. “She never chased discounts, she chased customer service.

“We received the best compliment to date from a customer through an email they recently sent when they complimented us on our service and stated, ‘Your staff made it feel like it was a life or death matter to find the right book for me.’ I think that sums up our approach.”

That service includes suggesting good books for the holidays.

“Books always make great gifts, especially for that hard-to-buy person. If you know what a person is interested in, we will find a book for them.”

Northern Michigan seems to have more independent bookstores per capita than anywhere else in the country. Norcross attributes that to the people who live and visit here.

“The reading culture of Northern Michigan is essential to all of us independents up here. We have very discerning readers which makes it fun for us, because we get to go beyond just the commercial stuff in our offerings.”

AUTHORS & EVENTS

Another key to the success of McLean & Eakin is the quality of authors they bring to Petoskey.

“Bringing authors to town was a real important element to my mom when she started the store,” said Norcross. “We are successful in bringing top-notch authors by creating strong ties with New York publishing houses. We are known for giving them a lot of prepublication reviews and blurbs. It’s those kind of things that keep us in the loop with publishers. We have flown to New York with other Michigan booksellers to pitch our region for book tours.”

Recently, Norcross and his team helped to facilitate Booktopia, which brought nine bestselling authors in four days to Petoskey.

“Booktopia was phenomenal. There is this group called Books on the Nightstand who puts it together in three different communities around the country each year. They called us last fall and said they wanted to come to Petoskey. It usually takes a week to sell out, but the Petoskey event sold out in 56 minutes.”

EMBRACING TRENDS

With all the changes in technology and e-books some independent bookstores are facing extinction. At McLean & Eakin they have found ways to embrace the trends and serve the customers.

“Since customer service has been our motto and top priority, we have embraced the new technologies,” said Norcross. “We were very happy last year about this time that we were able to offer e-books to our customers. We have had a lot of support and in fact we are in the top five in e-book sales of all the independent booksellers in the country. It is neat to see a store like ours in a geographically isolated area outselling major independents in metropolitan areas.”

In the next few days McLean & Eakin will launch a digital audiobooks program. Customers will be able to download audiobooks from their website.

“Our website and the fact we update it daily is a big part of our success. Our staff all have their picks and little reviews on books on the website and people constantly tell us this helpful,” said Norcross. “We offer 99 cent shipping anywhere in the country so our summer residents stay loyal to us year round. Plus, locals ship books as gifts. Every Monday over 5,000 subscribers get the newsletter that my wife Jess puts together, so people who don’t live here year round still feel connected to our store.”

Norcross is also proud of the store’s commitment to the young readers in the community.

“Certainly my wife and others have worked hard to create a great children’s section,” said Norcross. “We also have annual book fairs at area schools and have raised $125,000 for those schools over the years.”

Here are Matt and Jessilynn Norcross picks for books to give as gifts this holiday season:

For Adults: Detroit, An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

No one tells the story of Detroit quite like Charlie LeDuff. A mixture of heartache and humor.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

Sisters Marnie and Nell have a little secret they would like to keep buried; two actually. They’re hiding the fact their parents just died and they’ll need to work together to stay out of the orphanage.

For Kids: Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein

When a little dino hatches from his egg, one of the first things he sees is a kiss, but he can’t seem to figure out how to give one without BONKING, CHOMPING, or STOMPING. Fun for ages 4 and up.

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

After Flora rescues a squirrel from a terrifying vacuum accident, she takes him home and names him Ulysses. Then she discovers that he can write poetry. Ages 8 and up.

To learn more about McLean & Eakin Booksellers, store hours and location along with additional book suggestions for this holiday gift giving season, go to mcleanandeakin.com

 
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