With a $5,000 boost from an online auction, former Gibbs Smith associate editor Michelle Witte opened Fire Petal Books, a children’s bookstore in Centerville, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City, at the end of July. The 1,400 sq. ft.-multi-room store is looking to social media like Groupon and Facebook to spread the word, along with some old-fashioned face-to-face events like a store-sponsored writing retreat this weekend with agent Lauren MacLeod of the Strothman Agency in Boston.
Although Fire Petal is off to a somewhat slower start than Witte had hoped—her original fundraising goal had been $40,000—she has already hired one staffer, former Harvard Book Store children’s bookseller Rachel Anderson. Also she notes that many parents have stopped by for picture books. Fire Petal sells books for the very young on up through YA and even older YA for twenty-somethings like Witte herself.