Books, magazines, music, authors, good coffee—Horizon Books is a place that has always, “Prided itself on being a person’s third place (the other place people spend time beside work and home) where people spend their time,” explains Jill Beauchamp (events coordinator and floor manager). Traverse City, Cadillac, and Petoskey all have an inviting space to browse books, have meetings, study, and spend time with friends. The “awesome” people at Horizon want customers to see the store as a space that belongs to them.
Vic Herman opened the original Horizon Books store in a small storefront on Front Street in Traverse City in 1961. In 1993, the store moved to its larger, current location down the street where locals and tourists have come to find it a fixture on the downtown street. When they moved, Traverse City only granted them a few hours to close the street and get as much moving as they could get transferred. Customers came in droves to help move boxes. That’s how great of a community exists at the comfortable independent bookstore. So many visitors always exclaim that Horizon is, “part of their color tour or part of every summer vacation,” says Jill.
On September 24th, 2011, Horizon Books had a 50-year anniversary party commemorating their many years of community involvement. Guests enjoyed book signings, music, activities, refreshments, and Moomers Ice Cream. These kinds of things are not unusual for the store. Most Fridays and Saturdays, there is free music from 8:30 to 10:30, and author book signings on many Saturday afternoons. During the summer and holiday seasons, Horizon brings in more authors. Jill explains that the “Traverse City Film Festivalis a literary crowd,” and the store has a huge influx of authors and book buyers.
In the age of technology and a global community, the independent bookstore is interested in offering more to customers while still staying true to their local roots. In June 2011, Horizon Books launched a new website where customers can do some of their browsing online as well as having Google E-Books available. The store is not too worried about the changing market, though. Jill smiles, “The Traverse City community likes to stay local.” She explains that the low prices of getting books predominantly online means customers need to remember the, “Higher price of that lower cost.” Many of Horizon Books’ customers would, “Rather buy from us than the faceless internet entities.”
The Traverse City store offers friendly customer service, an extensive variety of books, an excellent meeting place, and Cuppa Joe’s delicious beverages. In regards to the coffee shop, Jill laughs, “We have a pretty great relationship with the goof balls making drinks.” No matter what the purpose, Horizon Books is many things to many people, and Jill says, “You can feel at home here.” The store is a place where people play piano in the middle of the day, teenagers get together to play chess, men get together to drink coffee and discuss life (dubbed Horizon Think Tank), and book lovers can meet their favorite authors. There is really no other place quite like it.