The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, by Wendy Welch, tells the story of the creation of a used bookstore in the hills of Appalachia. (The name Big Stone Gap might sound familiar to you, because it is the small town in Virginia where Adriana Trigiani’s fictional Big Stone Gap series takes place.) This bookstore, however, is real and just bursting with books and activities. It wasn’t always this way. The owners, Wendy Welch and Jack Beck, along with their cat Val-Kyttie, struggled mightily to make their fledgling shop a success.
They put a lot of elbow grease, risk, and heart into their idea. Initially there was a great deal of skepticism from the area residents who simply couldn’t believe that two strangers would pick economically depressed Big Stone Gap to open a store of any kind. They refused to believe that the owners meant to stay. The local Kiwanis chapter was so suspicious of them that they denied Jack membership. But slowly, over the years, the “little bookstore” has become part of the fabric of Big Stone Gap, and Wendy and Jack have found their home, as well.