For Joseph Wang and Marty Wilson, it all started with trying to find ways to fill a vacant position at a Holts Summit mall.
From there was born the idea of Retold Tales. The duo started the Second Hand Bookstore to fund the construction of a vacant position in the Wang Mall for the Daniel Boone Regional Library to move to Holts Summit.
Just before the bookstore opened in 2018, Wilson learned that Barnes & Noble was closing their bookstore in Jefferson City. He saw on Facebook that someone from the store was looking for a new job. He knew this was a good opportunity to get second-hand shelves and other items for the Jefferson City store bookstore.
“I was like, ‘I’m going to run over there tomorrow,'” Wilson said.
Wilson developed a relationship with Barnes & Noble employees, who would later gain approval from the company to donate the entire store – minus the books – to him.
But there was one problem: he had a week to get it all out.
“(T) they were bringing a team of wreckers behind us,” he said. “Anything we don’t want they take out and get rid of.”
He and his assistants were able to move everything in 10 days, working with the demolition team to save some items.
For the books, Wilson said he got donations from the community and local libraries. He ended up with about 4,000 cases of books. Additional shelves and books have come from Village Books in Colombia, with even more books pouring in from former book owner Fulton’s Well Read, Wang said.
After the opening of the bookstore, it was a success. But the inconsistency of its opening hours due to its reliance on its volunteer staff limited the store’s ability to reach surrounding communities.
Wang’s solution was to create Retold Tales independently of the Holts Summit Community Empowerment Foundation, which was the non-profit organization that owned the bookstore. In January, the two closed the bookstore and the transformation began.
“(We) bought the books from HSCEF and paid (them) for their time and effort in organizing the books,” Wang said.
The new Retold Tales continues to help HSCEF repay its loans, in return for maintaining relationships with book donors. Retold Tales is able to pay its own overheads and employees.
The transformation also included moving into a new space.
“Space is different,” Wang said. “The space is more welcoming than it was at the previous location. And as you wander from room to room, each area seems to open up like layers of onion. … Each area opens up to a different area, making it a more exciting place to walk.
Retold Tales also offers used DVDs, VHS tapes and vinyl records. The store also has a section dedicated to large print books for the visually impaired.
Wang said Retold Tales has worked with other similar small businesses. He said they worked with Jefferson City’s In The Groove for vinyl records. He said they also maintained their relationship with the Well Read books in Fulton, and the two were discussing trade, surpluses and duplicate books to improve inventory at both companies.
Jamie Rector, owner of In The Groove, said the collaboration was developed to promote each other.
“We’re just letting the locals and locals know that there are other options and businesses that are a bit similar,” Rector said.
For Wang and David Ellis, director of Retold Tales, the goal is to keep used media companies in business.
Throughout the store’s ownership, Wang said he learned a valuable lesson.
“As with a lot of things in life, and especially with books: what is unwanted for one person can be treasure for another,” he said in an email. “What makes a second-hand bookstore special is the ability to find esoteric books that (are) hard to find elsewhere, the ability for you to stumble upon a special book that you may not know. not even be what you wanted until you met him. “
Retold Tales is open 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. They are located at Summit Plaza and accept donations at the store during opening hours.