Do you realize what an amazing accomplishment it is to keep a small bookstore alive and thriving in a little town with the giant Amazon.com choking out most “mom and pop” booksellers?
The owner, Jean Hardy-Pittman, is a strong, determined person, the epitome of a “West Texas Woman.” Jean knows books. She’s edited them and published them for many years. Also, Jean reads and reads and reads.
I have a theory about why her business has succeeded when so many others have failed. Jean has made Front Street an integral part of the Big Bend community. Also, she hires great staff—friendly people who love books and who love to read. They’re eager to help a shopper find what she/he wants or might like, or they are willing to let a person browse for hours. Have it your way.
I owe Ms. Hardy-Pittman and her superb staff a debt of gratitude I’ll never be able to pay. In 2006, a brand-new, nervous author walked into the store and handed Jean “One Bloody Shirt at a Time.” She surprised me by saying they’d take six, and after she read the book, she would contact me. I expected her to read first and then order books. I later discovered that Front Street Books staunchly supports local authors by stocking six of their books, good or bad. Local authors are given a chance at Front Street that they don’t get in many other places.
Fortunately for me, Jean liked “One Bloody Shirt at a Time.” She even wrote a beautiful review of it that went into a local publication. And she bought more books and more books and every book I have written. Thank you to Jean and her staff for actively promoting my work. If you go into the store and are not sure what you want, beware! You are likely to leave with a Deputy Ricos tale in your hand.