MUSKEGON, Mich. — A book store in Muskegon is asking for help from the community to continue their quest to promote literacy whether you can afford to purchase a book or not.
Gracie's Book Store on East Apple Avenue has a simple mission of getting books into people's hands, even if it means selling them at a reduced cost or giving them away all together.
"Literacy is so so important at every age," said owner Cindy Toma, who also goes by Gracie to customers. "So I'm doing everything I can to get books out there. And a lot of times, there are people in situations that come in here, they can't afford it. So they're taking home whatever books they want. That's why I'm here."
The store is staffed by volunteers and many of the new and used books in the shop were donated by community members.
Toma isn't interested in turning a profit and because of outside factors like health and weather, the store has fallen behind on its lease and utilities.
She explained that because of unplanned events, she hasn't been able to regularly be in the shop selling books.
"It's just been one thing after the other... if I'm not selling books to pay the lease and utilities... that's not a good thing."
The store is now asking for monetary donations to catch up on bills and put them into a position to stay open for many years.
"I am confident that if I can get over this bump, I'll be here for a very long time. Because that kind of stuff doesn't happen all the time," Toma said assuredly.
Her love of literature and passion to share the written word with others is what drives her to continue her efforts.
"I learn through books, I travel through books, I feel emotions through books. I get to know a lot of history through books," she explained. "It's an escape. I mean, really, when you think about it, you can always do it anywhere."
If you are interested in donating to Gracie's Book Store, you can send a check made out to Cynthia Toma to 897 East Apple Avenue, Muskegon, MI 49442. You can also visit or call the store at (231) 670-9891 and donate via debit or credit card.
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