Ramona is a unique place in and of itself, but things get kicked up a notch with a local bookstore that offers more than the printed word.
, which sits at 780 Main St., is a hidden gem, quite literally, in Ramona. The funky store offers up plenty of reading materials, from cookbooks to novels to used books, but also boasts local jewelry, stones and goods.
Owner Stacy Bart, who hails from Florida but has called Ramona "home" for the past six years, took some time to talk about her shop that she says has a "neighborhood feel."
Find out what makes her store unique and why this biz is perfect for a small town.
Patch: Why did you decide to start this business in Ramona?
Bart: I was looking for that fun and funky place in town and couldn't figure out why there wasn't one. There was a used bookstore but not much else. So, when the opportunity arose, I took it.
Patch: What distinguishes your business from others in the same industry?
Bart: I have a little of everything; something for everyone. It changes constantly. I don't have a specific list of what I will bring in so you never know what you will find here.
Some things are new and some are "new to you." I also try to bring in locally made products as much as I can and things you won't find anywhere else. I love that people come to visit regularly. I have made so many friends by opening the doors. People come in and sit and chat and have tea or just talk. There is a neighborhood feel here.
Patch: What are some current challenges you face as a business owner?
Bart: Ramona is an interesting place. It can be a bit tricky to get my name out there. Every day people come in and say they didn't know there was a store here. I wish more people who live in Ramona would stop in all the small shops and see what's here. Most people are shocked to see how many used books we have. Most comments are about the "cool stuff" or the low prices on the jewelry.
Patch: What's the best business advice you've ever been given?
Bart: You must have a passion for what you do and always treat people right. I think it's true. I want people to feel good about what they get here, not just what they buy but how they feel when they are here. I want them to enjoy it as much as I do.
Patch: What's your favorite book?
Bart: I have two: Your Money or Your Life and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The first is a life changing program that will teach you how to be happy and live within your means. The second is classic British humor–pure fun.