After months of wondering what new business would be moving into a 1,300-square-foot downtown retail space where renovations, shrouded in secrecy, were being completed, the residents of Decorah, Iowa, discovered February 4 that an independent bookstore will open there by mid-February. Kate Rattenborg, the owner of Dragonfly Books, unveiled her new business venture Friday evening at a black-tie soiree/50th birthday party with about 130 in attendance. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for March 19.
Dragonfly Books will carry 7,000 titles initially, with the number expected to ramp up to 10,000. While Dragonfly is a full-service general bookstore, there will be an emphasis on Scandinavian-American literature, regional titles, local history, and local authors. Rattenborg also is selling Google eBooks through the ABA’s Web site. Besides Rattenborg, store personnel will include her two daughters, one of whom is a teenager, and the other 20-years-old. Part-time staff will be hired as needed.
Rattenborg, a former academic librarian who most recently worked in the financial services industry, told PW that she wanted to open a bookstore in the community of 11,000 because she felt that Decorah, a town whose residents are very conscious about buying local, “needs a bookstore.” After deciding to switch from the financial services industry to bookselling, Rattenborg attended Paz & Associates’s prospective booksellers school , and, more recently, attended the ABA's Winter Institutein Washington, DC.