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Paynesville Press - July 19, 2006

Couple opens bookstore in town

By Melissa Andrie

When Robert and Kay McDaniel opened the BlessingWell gallery and frame store in downtown Paynesville, they had a plan for the extra room in their building. It did not involve them opening a bookstore. However, they did at the end of May.

McDaniels Been Around Books has both new and used books. Their daughter, Monica Moore, is the general manager of the bookstore, which the McDaniels hope will create community interest and respect for books.

Kay and Robert McDaniel opened a new and used bookstore, called Been Around Books, in May in downtown Paynesville.

Been Around Books, as the name indicates, is based on the concept of "recycling your reading interests," said Robert. Customers can bring in books, earn credit for them based upon for how much the store will resell them, and use their credit to pay for up to half of books they purchase.

Since they opened the store with some of their book collection, the McDaniels have gathered so many books from customers and donators, some leaving boxes of books anonymously, that they have boxes waiting to be sorted and to be given shelf space.

When the McDaniels were looking for a place for a gallery for Kay, a friend told them that a building was for sale in Paynesville. "Where's Paynesville?" they asked, but they came to see the Ben Franklin building, which they bought just over two years ago and moved here from Buffalo.

They had originally planned to have a community classroom for "how to" classes in the room that is now the bookstore, such as "how to quilt or how to stack marbles or whatever," according to Robert.

However, a friend expressed interest in moving to Paynesville to open a bookstore, and Robert, who used to run a bookstore in North Dakota, got engrossed in planning it. When the friend decided not to follow through, the McDaniels did not want to shelf the plans.

"Young people should be encouraged to live here," believes Kay, and she feels that having businesses like Been Around Books available is important to a town.

Monica, who created the layout of the store and organizes the books and the details of the business, is learning entrepreneurship as she raises her two young girls with her husband, an electrician in St. Cloud.

Kay said they hope to involve local book clubs with the store and to put up books reviews from kids in the area. There will not be reviews from The New York Times here, because local opinions are much more meaningful, she added.

Local writers and poets are also invited to sell their work at the bookstore. The McDaniels plan to have book signings there by local authors, and Robert would like to run a workshop on writing.

In addition to the used and new books in the store, the McDaniels want to special order books that customers want.

The McDaniels are grateful for the support the community has shown in their newest venture.

Of the bookstore's success so far, Kay said, "God just provides. The books just fall" into the store.

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