A newspaper clipping from The Book Keeper’s grand opening on September 27, 1980 hangs on the wall in Susan Chamberlain’s office. The store’s history is often front-of-mind for her. The Book Keeper originally opened in Northgate Plaza and has moved to different locations within the plaza throughout the years. In 2001, Chamberlain purchased the store from owner Kathy Mitchell, and in 2010 the store moved to its current location. Not every community has a thriving independent bookstore. “It says a lot about the city and the customer support that we’ve had over the years,” Chamberlain explains.
The Book Keeper carries a wide selection of books and places hundreds of special orders weekly. Customers can look up current inventory or reserve a book on the website, www.sarniabookkeeper.com. If you can’t find what you are looking for, one of the employees would be happy to help. Each staff member brings a unique and extensive knowledge of books, and they are especially good at making recommendations. “During the busy holiday season, customers bring in a list with the ages of each of their nieces and nephews and the staff will make suggestions,” Chamberlain says. Alongside the wide selection of books, giftware, board games, and jewelry are also available. Chamberlain saw the local demand for these items at Poppies, the gift shop inside Bluewater Health that she opened in 2010, at the same time as the Book Keeper was moving to its larger location. These additions have allowed the Book Keeper to become the ideal place to shop, not only for book lovers, but for anyone who appreciates a unique gift.