“So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?"
That question came from bookstore owner Kathleen Kelly, played by Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail. They were words that resonated with Stephanie Csaszar. Twenty years ago, watching the film, the librarian and Gresham resident was already fueled by the idea of a life filled with books. Perhaps a life where Ryan’s onscreen store, The Shop Around the Corner, could be hers.
Now that dream is becoming reality. On Friday, November 2, Csaszar will open a new bookstore, Books Around the Corner—a not-so-veiled homage to the 1998 hit—in downtown Gresham, in the building formerly occupied by Oregon Paintball.
“I definitely appreciate the special bookstores [already] in Gresham,” says the 34-year-old. “Our focus will be on building a general-purpose bookstore that will serve all of the community rather than a specific population.”
Csaszar moved to Oregon from Rhode Island a year ago after finishing a master’s degree in information and library science. She landed two traditional library gigs she loved, with the City of Beaverton and Cedar Mill Community Library. The roles allowed her to immerse herself in what she loves most (other than books, of course): helping others. But she also saw what was lacking in her new hometown.
“We have made a home in Gresham and were shocked to discover that it didn’t have one general-purpose bookstore,” she says. (Gresham, a city of more than 100,000, hasn’t had a general-purpose bookstore since 2011.) “We plan to bring back the creative space the community deserves and needs.”
To support the renovation of the space, located at 40 NW 2nd St, as well as the initial inventory, Csaszar has set up an Indiegogo campaign with a $10,000 goal. The shop will sell mostly new books, as well as some “gently used selections,” she says.
“I want this bookshop to be the place people find their next great read,” adds Csaszar. Kathleen Kelly would be proud.