Bill and Lindsay Gibson Will Open Fine Print Bookshop in Downtown Saline
Bill and Lindsay Gibson like the little town of Saline and they want to be known as the keepers of the town's book shop.
The Gibsons are the owners of Fine Print Bookshop, which will soon open at 109 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Saline.
They live down the road in Pittsfield Township and plan to start a family.
"We live in Saline now and we'll send our kids to Saline schools," Lindsay said.
"So one day, they might not say, 'Hey, that's Bill and Lindsay's kid,' but maybe they'll say, 'Hey, that's the bookstore owners' kid,'" Bill chimed in. "So we want to be recognized. It'll be nice to just be part of the community."
And the way to do that, the Gibsons say, is to open an inclusive book store.
"We just wanted to build the place that we felt like people could come to and just feel included in," Bill said.
Fine Print Books will feature new books with all the best sellers and a substantial children's section. They'll also sell board games.
The book store is located in the building that most recently housed Guaranteed Rate. They plan to use the two main floor offices for things like book club meetings or perhaps podcast reporting. Shoppers who remember Reincarnations Retail might recall the large basement. For now, the Gibsons plan to keep the basement for storage and their own offices, though they might open it up for board game parties or other community events.
Bill and Lindsay, as you might guess, love to read. Before moving to Pittsfield Township, one of their favorite places was the Ypsilanti Library.
Bill's going to be the one most customers get to know quickly. He hails from Romulus and came to Washtenaw County 20 years ago to study at Eastern Michigan University and has been here ever since. Until recently, Bill worked as the manager of City Pets, a veterinary practice in Ann Arbor. He's been working in the book store virtually every day and will be the person working behind the counter and interacting with customers on a daily basis.
Lindsay grew up in Pinckney and has a lot of family in the Ann Arbor Area. She works for Washtenaw County Community Mental Health doing data reporting. She'll continue working for Washtenaw County while helping Bill with a lot of the finer details and behind-the-scenes items involved with running the business.
"We both have our strengths when it comes to business. She's better with finances and more detail-oriented. I supply some of the optimistic drive and bigger ideas that guide the business," Bill said.
While Bill supplies a lot of the big-picture ideas, the biggest idea came from Lindsay. There was a book store next to City Pets and the owners were retiring and liquidating.
"I came home from work super excited about the idea of getting a lot of discount books. We were out walking our dogs and she said 'Well, what if we just bought all of their books,'" Bill recalled.
He didn't understand her point at first and wondered where they would store the books. And that's when Lindsay suggested opening a book store.
That opportunity didn't pan out but the seed was planted.
"We've been talking about trying to work for ourselves for three years," Lindsay said.
Now they are weeks away from opening.
How do the Gibsons plan to make a brick-and-mortar bookstore work in 2021? Well, for one, they do plan some sales online (click here to visit the website). But they're not trying to compete with Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com. Bill said the COVID-19 pandemic has left people yearning to visit places like the bookstores the Gibsons will open.
"People want to go out now. They are tired of being at home. They've done all the online shopping. They want to go out and shop and have a tactile experience. They want to touch something and they want to talk to people," Bill said. "You know, we'll be six feet apart, but they still want to talk to people."
In addition, the Gibsons believe consumers want to spend money with shop owners in their community instead of megarich billionaires.
"I think consumers are more conscientious now. They don't necessarily want to spend their book money to someone who's going to spend it on rocket fuel," Bill said. "I can tell you right now, Lindsay and I are not going to space."
Once open, they plan to collaborate with neighboring businesses and things like lecture series and talks.
Opening a new business can bring unexpected challenges. For example, the Gibsons quickly discovered that it's almost impossible to buy bookshelves in the current market.
"One of my hobbies is woodworking. It's coming in handy. We're basically building everything from scratch, which is part of the reason why all of this has taken a little longer than we thought," Bill said.
In terms of their own reading, Bill loves sci-fi/fantasy as well as memoirs and biographies.
"I like to learn about people," he said.
Lindsay enjoys popular fiction and mysteries and especially likes the works of author Kristin Hannah.
Over the next few weeks, the Gibsons are going to unpack and stock more than 3,000 books. They're hoping to this month and celebrate a grand opening Sept. 1.