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Bookstore has everything covered, even their local ghost

Owner of Rivendell Books, located in the Wellington Plaza, says she has tried to create 'a real local place, where people could come and enjoy books together'
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Voracious readers can get lost in the rows of stories at a local book store before heading home and getting lost in the story itself.

Rivendell Books, located in the Wellington Plaza, has "too many books to count," says owner Wendy Cahill.

Cahill, who calls herself The Book Lady and has been in the business of books for more than 15 years, spent five years at another book store in the same plaza before venturing out on her own a little over a decade ago.

The store's name is a nod to Lord of the Rings. 

“The name Rivendell comes from the Lord of the Rings; it's where the elves live,” says Cahill. “It is my favourite book and so I knew I wanted to use something from it. We have a little elf on our business card and the store is painted green like a forest.”

The idea of a forest is also fitting, as Cahill believes her store is the way a business should be run, with recycling in mind.

“Essentially, recycling is what we’re doing,” she says. “That is the way the world is going, for good reason.”

Rivendell Books sells used, rare, antique and out-of-print books. It used to be that you could just bring your books in and a deal could be made for them on the spot, but times have changed and an appointment is needed now.

“All the baby boomers are aging and downsizing, and they need to get rid of their many books,” Cahill says. “We have so many people coming in with books that we had to issue an appointment system so we could handle it all.”

Despite the older generation unloading their books, Cahill says she's optimistic about how books are being received by the younger set.

“I know we live in a technological world, but I find that young people do like to have a book to read,” Cahill says. “And even if as teenagers they aren’t totally into them, as soon as they hit their 20s and up, that love of a good book hits them.”

The Wellington Street store is divided into different sections, covering everything from crime and war to romance, humour and many other topics. There are even chairs to relax in and a kids section for young ones to play while mom and dad look for a good read.

“I wanted to open a real local place, where people could come and enjoy books together,” Cahill says. “I feel we are friends with most of our customers. It's a real family type of thing.”

Popular books seem to be anything made into a film, with Game of Thrones and the Outlander series being big sellers.

Rivendell also prides itself on the odd, rare find, with a first-edition Peter Pan (actually titled Wendy and Peter) and a first-edition Winnie the Pooh having come through the doors.

The little shop also appeals to those not only looking for stories on the supernatural, but to the ghosts who enjoy sharing the space with them.

Cahill tells BarrieToday that she and her husband have a spirit staying at their shop, who has been seen by others, and even followed a customer home when the book he was reading was bought.

“Saturday nights, my husband and I clean and the last thing we do is he mops from the back to the front and we lock up,” Cahill says. “We were coming back in on Sundays and there would be a neatly stacked pile of books in a spot where they shouldn’t be. Others have seen an older, ghostly gentleman here in the store as well.

“A customer once bought a military book, but brought it back a couple days later and he was white as a ghost," she adds. "He said he had awakened in the middle of the night to see a ghostly elderly male figure walking through his bedroom, reading the book.”

Cahill reached out to a TV show that used to air locally and which dealt with the paranormal and got some answers.

“They brought in a psychic who said it was an elderly man who had lived through the First and Second World War who never had any money," she says. "Now, he’s just here wanting to read the books. And when he was seen at the customer’s home, it was determined that the spirit had been reading that book and wasn’t finished before it was bought.”

To find out more about Rivendell Books, click here.




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Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based on Barrie
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