Off The Beaten Path Bookstore

Katie  and Judy Gustafson enjoying their life long dream at Off the Beaten Path
Katie and Judy Gustafson enjoying their life long dream at Off the Beaten Path

Article Contributed by
Katie Smith

Over the course of this summer the mother daughter team of Judy and Katie Gustafson made their lifelong dream of owning and operating a bookstore come true.

On August 15, 2016 Judy Gustafson and her daughter Katie became the owners and operators of Off the Beaten Path, the bookstore in downtown Lakewood. Located at 28 Chautauqua Ave., the store is open Monday through Friday from 10 to 5:30 and Saturdays until 5 p.m.

“This all fell into place perfectly” reported Judy. “We heard Holly Richardson, the former owner, was going to close the store if she didn’t find a buyer and we knew we had to save it. We met Holly on July 7 – the anniversary of my dad’s death. His memory, my experiences helping my uncle publish a book and the conversations Katie and I have had about someday owning a bookstore all seemed to tell us this was our chance.”

Katie, a graduate of Penn State Behrend and her mom have both worked in retail and they bring individual skills to the store. Katie has degrees in computer science and English so she focuses on special orders, website and Facebook content, “more behind the scenes,” she acknowledges, “my mom is the people person, she talks to everyone, learns their story and helps them choose just the right books. We’re a good fit for the store since together we can cover all aspects of owning and operating a business”

Katie  and Judy Gustafson enjoying their life long dream at Off the Beaten Path
Katie and Judy Gustafson enjoying their life long dream at Off the Beaten Path

Katie was able to work in the store during the transition, meeting customers and learned how repeat customers, partnerships with schools and book clubs, filling special orders and the location in downtown Lakewood combine to make Off the Beaten Path a successful bookstore.

They feature a special room dedicated to children’s’ books and the popular Melissa and Doug learning toys. Fiction, History, Self Help, Cookbooks and Home Décor selections are just a few of the stacks clearly marked and the display of local authors and books takes front and center stage as you walk through the front door. The best find might be the $4 rack – new books and current titles all offered at $4 each.

Holiday orders are in process and Judy expects to fill the store – especially the children’s room with a number of choices. “There isn’t a close outlet for educational toys, the Melissa and Doug puzzles or special children’s’ books. In addition, we plan on having the inventory to allow our customers to choose just the right gift book for their loved ones.”

An Open House is scheduled for Saturday, September 17 from 10 to 2 at the store, 28 Chautauqua Avenue in downtown Lakewood. Visitors will be able to register to win one of the $20 gift certificates. She store will feature 10% off storewide and refreshments will be served.

You can contact Off the Beaten Path at 716.720.4917 or find them on the web or facebook.

The Jamestown Gazette is proud to recognize our dealers, outstanding corporate citizens of our county. This week, the Gazette especially thanks Off the Beaten Path Bookstore for the faithfully carrying The Jamestown Gazette, The People’s Paper, for the benefit of their customers, our readers.