Story by Tom Doetsch, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Bombadil Books
Aquinas college graduate Danielle Alexander (2013) recently opened her own bookstore, Bombadil Books, on Division Street. After graduation, she worked with nonprofit Kid’s Food Basket for a year, then found work in Denver, finally deciding to come back to Grand Rapids.
“Everything is thanks to Aquinas,” Alexander said. She would go on and on to talk about how every single English professor she had was so incredibly supportive and became valued friends. Professor Miriam Pederson was her advisor and the most supportive.
She was the one to tell Alexander about the internship with Literary Life bookstore, where she first got interested in working in and possibly owning a bookstore.
“As an English major, I discovered that so many jobs wanted me because I could write and communicate better than most,” said Alexander.
The myth of the unemployable English major, is just that, a myth. Alexander did not have a hard time finding a job after graduation because she could write and communicate ideas effectively. Alexander attributes her ability to write well partially to voracious reading habits. As Aquinas College Associate Professor of English, Dr. Gretchen Rumohr-Voskuil says, “Better readers make better writers.”
“A lot of people don’t read and just resort to watching Netflix. I wanted to do something to counter that. So I opened this bookstore, to provide high quality affordable books to the Grand Rapids area,” Alexander said. Upon entry to Bombadil Books, customers and guest are happily greeted by Mugs, Alexander’s dog. She also has two cats named Jane and Austen, after Dr. Brent Chesley’s favorite author. Alexander in her free time enjoys writing poetry and nonfiction. At Aquinas, she was an English major and a writing minor. She says, “It’s important to see books as valuable works of arts that are meant to last a long time.”
Alexander is especially happy that she is apart of the Avenue for the Arts.
On its website, Avenue for the Arts says, “We are residential, commercial and nonprofit groups working together in a creative community…The Avenue for the Arts has been recognized as a center for arts and culture in Grand Rapids.”
She believes this is like a modern renaissance; going back to ways of culture. Another driving force to start her bookstore was the falling price of e-readers because “most everyone has one, they aren’t selling anymore because there’s only so many gimmicky things you can do with with them” Alexander says.
Danielle Alexander is an energetic and passionate bookstore owner and Bombadil Books will surely become a booming success in the near future. One of Alexander’s last remarks was, “Aquinas was a perfect fit as a college and the English major was so supportive even after I have graduated.”