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Larry Curtis, owner and operator of The Bookstore and More.
Larry Curtis, owner and operator of The Bookstore and More.

CARVING A NICHE The Bookstore and More might be one of the most unique and versatile businesses in Clarenville.

That’s because the “More” includes high-quality pet foods and paint supplies.
That’s right — it’s a secondhand bookstore/paint shop/pet food supplier.
Larry Curtis opened Matchless Décor Centre on Marine Drive in 1994, selling paint and painting supplies. Business was successful, and in the early 2000s, Curtis came up with a unique expansion idea.

Visitors are invited to cosy up by the fire.

“A friend of mine had a pet store and he was closing up, so he had several customers built up for the certain brand of food, and there was no where else in Clarenville to buy it,” Curtis explained. “So he came to me and I bought everything off of him. What sold well I kept in stock, and what didn’t, I sold off and stopped.”
Then, in 2012, Curtis moved into a larger office space on Marine Road. Suddenly, he had 1,500 square feet of space as opposed to 900. And with more floor space came the question: what to sell next?
Books, naturally.
“Well, I had to sell something else. We decided to get into the books because there was no one in Clarenville selling them at the time,” Curtis explained.

Pet food at The Bookstore and More.

He has since moved his business to Memorial Drive, a higher traffic area, and says that all three products are selling well.
“Between the three of them, one doesn’t outsell the other, although the pet food is the most consistent,” he explained.
As Clarenville’s only bookstore, used and new, Curtis has made a priority of emphasizing his large selection of books (which hangs somewhere around 20,000 according to his estimates) to his customers.  He changed the store’s name from Matchless Décor Centre to the Bookstore and More, to reflect this.
Even the store’s layout serves this purpose — all the books are up front, with the paint and pet food placed toward the rear of the store.
“I put the paint in the least obvious spot because I’ve been selling that for 23 years and most people know that,” he explained.

The Bookstore and More certainly lives up to its name.

“In order to get your paint or your pet food, you have to know there’s somewhere in Clarenville to buy books!”
So where does you get 20,000 used books?
Curtis purchased 8,000 to 10,000 books from another bookseller when he first began, and has been collecting since then.
“I buy them online, through eBay, people bring them in… any way I can get them.  I’m constantly trying to put newer stock out. Of what I bought originally five years ago, I’d say less than 20 per cent of that is here now, probably less then 10 per cent.”
“I’m always trying to get newer books. Anything that’s not in very good shape I don’t put out.”

Apart from secondhand books, Curtis sells new Newfoundland and Labrador books.
His advice to fellow business owners or entrepreneurs?
“Do a lot of research before you start. Do a lot of work before you start at it. Figure out what your goals are and what you’re trying to accomplish.”

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