Craft Studio coordinator to buy used bookshop

The new Yellow Dog Bookshop is set to replace Get Lost Bookshop on Ninth Street.

Kelsey Hammond and Joe Chevalier said they didn’t feel “settled” in Columbia when they moved from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006 without a dog. It wasn't until Hammond rescued Scout in 2007 at Columbia Second Chance shelter that this changed.

“She’s the mellowest, quietest dog you’ll ever meet,” she said. “All the other dogs (at Second Chance) were all over us.”

Scout is not only the household dog and anchor for Hammond and Chevalier — she is also the inspiration behind the name of their upcoming store, Yellow Dog Bookshop.

Chevalier compared rescuing Scout to finding a good used book.

Hammond, the coordinator of the Craft Studio, and Chevalier, an English professor at Stephens College, will open the bookshop on Aug. 5th, replacing Get Lost Bookshop.

As of this week, Hammond and Chevalier finished raising $6,000 for startup costs, according to their funding campaign page.

Chevalier said Yellow Dog will provide a more personal experience than going to or Barnes & Noble with its “comfy” Kids’ Nook, readings and concerts.

“As a used bookstore, we might not have the thing you’re looking for, but we might have the thing you’re not looking for," Chevalier said.

Combined, they have over 10 years of experience working in bookstores and even met at one.

On Sept. 10, 2001, Chevalier said he and Hammond began working together at Kepler’s Books and Magazines, in Menlo Park, Calif., and not even a month later, Chevalier said they went on their first date.

“I didn’t realize it was that short,” Hammond said. “Good for you for remembering that.”

Many people from their upbringing had also met at Kepler’s, a center for social justice, Hammond said. Roy Kepler, the store’s 1955 founder, marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and booked acts like local band The Grateful Dead and folk singer Joan Baez, according to the bookstore’s website.

“A bookstore should be the heart of a community,” Hammond said. “We want kids to say, ‘Let’s go to the bookstore!’ after eating ice cream at Sparky’s (Homemade Ice Cream) across the street."

“And wash their sticky hands first,” Chevalier added.

The couple said they want the next generation of youths, including their children Atticus, almost 2, and Sally, 5, to love books as much as they do.

“We’re only a little bit obsessed with (Harper Lee’s novel) ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’,” Hammond said.

The couple wants to provide the latest literary magazines, like California-based McSweeney’s Quarterly, that students can read over lunch between classes, they said.

Hammond also said she wants the store to showcase local talent. Local band The Late Night Benedictions were cited by Yellow Dog owners as a potential act. Founder Aaron Harms said the stretch of sidewalk outside the used bookstore was a "prime spot."

"Because of the way the entrances to the shops on that side are set up," he said, "if you're a band out front of Yellow Dog, you've got quite a bit of time to make an impact on anyone coming from Broadway."

Yellow Dog owner Hammond also praised the talent of Columbia writers and poets.

“Every month I see someone with a book deal,” Hammond said.

MU graduate student J. Bowers said in an email she is interested in doing readings at Yellow Dog because it's "a small, intimate space" and "you're surrounded by books!"

The owners and members of the community hope the store will become a cornerstone for the town.

Hammond says she wants to cater to college students like the she’s done with MU's Craft Studio since being installed as coordinator in 2006.

“It’s gone from a dying beast to a super awesome community,” she said. “I’d love for students to come in to Yellow Dog and read books ... actual books.”

MU graduate student Darcy Holtgrave said in an email that Yellow Dog will be a place where disparate communities in Columbia can "cross paths."

"Everyone – not just college kids – should hang at Yellow Dog because I'm sure it's going to be exactly like its owners: warm, inclusive, eclectic, and delightfully smart," Holtgrave said.

Bowers said it would be amazing see more undergraduates taking advantage of the local literary scene.

"The Yellow Dog is within walking distance of campus," she said. "How cool would it be to see students walking to a bookstore instead of a bar?"

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