After a little over two decades in business, Carla Jimenez and Leslie Reiner have sold Inkwood Books in Tampa, Fla. Their quiet search for a new owner began last year. Jimenez and Reiner discovered the right fit in long-time customer Stefani Beddingfield, a former stay-at-home mom and founder of the non-profit Freedom Playground Foundation. "When Stefani approached us, we knew she was serious about it and would continue, as well as improve, the store we have worked so hard to create," says Reiner. Beddingfield attended both Prospective Booksellers School and ABA's Winter Institute education programs in preparation for her new role as bookseller. "She has been sitting in on some of the recent buying, and been spending time behind the counter. She's learning all the millions of little things that go into an ordinary day of bookselling."
The store's name and location will stay the same, and for now Jimenez and Reiner will continue ownership over the property. While Jimenez looks forward to retirement, and spending her time as a community volunteer and advocate for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, Reiner plans to stay on with the store as a consultant. "I love every day at the store. We have been so fortunate in the wonderful staff we've had through our 21 years, as well as the dear friends we've made through the store," she says. "My confidence in Stefani, and my excitement about some of her plans for the future, make this transition less painful." Reiner's goal is to focus on literacy outreach personally and through Inkwood Books.
In tribute to the community that has supported them for 21 years, the store is holding a "Hats Off, Half Off Sale" this week, with extended store hours until 9 p.m. and everything in stock at 50% off. The sale of Inkwood Books is effective April 1.