In an age where social media is taking people to all corners of the earth and back with the click of a mouse, one local business is stressing the importance of their local communities; and thriving.
Twenty years ago P.K. Swindani, a local resident, was laid off from his job and wanted to provide stability for his family and impact his community, so he opened The Trappe Book Center to do just that.
It has been such a success that the book store was recently moved from its original location, in the Trappe Shopping Center, to the Providence Town Center in Collegeville (next to Eastern Mountain Sports) receiving a new name in the process.
The newly constructed now boasts 8,000 square feet of book space, a large increase from its previous store’s layout of just 5,500 square feet. It has added an electronic center that allows its customers to download literature on their handheld device, access to more than 4 million books, a café, and a children’s center that provides seating, educational toys, and a large animal themed mural.
Marketing Director Kit Little said the children’s center is something they’ve always wanted to do, and with the newly added space they were able to accomplish it.
“The idea was to have a place where a parent could sit and peruse a book with their child and decide whether or not it is an appropriate book. Or have a place for the kids to sit and look for themselves while their parents are shopping,” Little said. “We didn’t have that with the old store at all.”
Little said another way the newly acquired space has impacted the store is the ability to showcase local talent and get more people involved in the community.
“We have in store book fairs, we have off-site book fairs, we have local artists come in and display their work in the new location. That’s one of the things this allowed us to do,” said little.
The new store is also adding, among their new horror and classics section, a section for local artist to display their work for free. They also plan to hold open mic nights for poetry readings, allow local musicians to perform inside the store, reinstate their children’s story time, and hold art galleries with wine and cheese tasting for the adults.
Even with the new events and changing scenery, Little said they have kept their main focus at the forefront of every decision.
“We want a place where people can go and show their talent and express themselves and be welcomed and comfortable. Just as long as everything stays family oriented because that’s the way we’ve always been,” said Little.
As the first and only independent business in the Providence Town Center, the local motto is showcased in some unlikely places throughout the book store.
Everything in the Towne Book Center, from the construction to the café, is thanks to local independent businesses. The interior construction was done by local contractors and the coffee brewed at the café is manufactured locally.
“We’ve tried to keep everything that we’ve brought in as independent and local as possible,” said Little.
Even the artwork that hangs on the walls is from local artists. Little says they plan to have four different artists featured each year in their store, but the response by local artists has been so overwhelming that they may change that to once a month.
Little said the reason they have done all this is to provide a place that truly impacts the people in the communities is because “it’s important.”
“We’re proud of what we do here,” Little said. “We live here too, and it's part of our home. It’s our families as well, and that matters.”
The Towne Book Center and Café is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday.
While they are open to the public, Little said they will have a grand opening the last weekend in April.