Benjamin Jackinsky, right, and James Smith carry boxes of books from Already Read Book Store in Kenai. Jackinsky is moving the store to a new location about a half mile away.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Kenai bookworms will soon have a bigger apple from which to get a taste of knowledge.
Already Read, the Kenai used book store that has operated out of a small nook in the Decor Building for nearly four years, is getting its own digs. Store owner Benjamin Jackinsky is in the process of moving stacks of romance, piles of adventure and reams of history to a building on Caviar Street that's stood vacant for more than a decade.
"It used to be the Windmill Restaurant a long time ago," Jackinsky said.
Although the building hasn't been used for much of anything since the restaurant vacated the space, it now houses Jackinsky's vision of what a small-town bookstore should be.
In the new store, shelves stand close together in a seemingly random fashion, giving the new space much the same cramped and cozy feel Jackinsky's customers came to know at the old store.
"It's canyons of books," he said. "Only now we've got much bigger canyons."
Jackinsky said he decided to keep the interior similar to how things at the old store are for a reason.
"I wanted to keep that same atmosphere," he said. "People seemed to like that."
Being surrounded by volumes of used books was a crucial element of the old space, he said. However, because of the success of Jackinsky's book selling-trading business, he was rapidly outgrowing the old store.
"It was getting uncomfortable," he said. "Now there'll be more room."
The interior of the new Already Read is much the same as the old, but expanded and with more areas for customers to explore. The new store encompasses roughly twice as much space as the old one, and includes a couple new additions, as well. Besides having more shelf space, Jackinsky also installed an espresso bar and a small area for local artists to display their works.
Everything comes together in an eclectic mix, something that James Smith, who helped Jackinsky with the move to the new store, said is reflective of the store's owner.
"It's quirky," Smith said. "That's Benjamin."
Jackinsky said the store layout is all part of his plan to create a place where people can feel comfortable while browsing for books and get a good bargain at the same time.
"I'm more offering a service than a product," he said.
Jackinsky sells his books at prices less than they normally sell new, because he gives store credit for books people bring in, a system he said seems to work for him and his patrons.
"People pay half cash and half (store) credit," he said.
It's a system that allows him to keep a variety of books on the shelves while keeping his cost for inventory at virtually nil.
"What's been most pleasing is the selection of books people bring in," he said.
Since reading tastes vary widely across the community, Jackinsky said he's able to stock books across virtually every genre.
"It's a little bit of everything," he said.
The new location on Caviar Street is in downtown Kenai. Jackinsky said he thinks it is nice because it's close to the Kenai Recreation Center, the Kenai Library and the Kambe Theater.
He's planning to have things up and running by Saturday and said he hopes to have a grand opening celebration in December to mark his four years in business. He said he's hopeful to be in business for many years to come and believes his philosophy of offering a friendly atmosphere and affordable books will continue to be a success.
"It's a keeper," he said. "It's an idea that works."
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