Ben “Stone” Stomberg, a friendly, bearded man with an eyebrow ring, sat in the corner of Kaldi’s coffee shop with a laptop and a pile of paperwork. Stone is working on filling a void in Galesburg by opening a new bookstore. “I originally came up with the idea because of selling comics and LP’s online. I decided I wanted to start selling books as well, and as I thought of bigger inventory I decided to open a store. It drove me nuts there being no bookstore, so what started as an online store grew into a full-fledged storefront.”
“I want the store to feel like a center of the community where people come to chill, read, and have free Wi-Fi as opposed to ‘come in, get your books, and get out’,” said Stomberg, speaking about his vision for the store. He wants to have a full supply of comics at the store and is envisioning an inventory made up of 50 percent used books, 30 percent new books, and 15 percent comic books, with the rest of the store LP’s.
Stomberg is currently looking at four potential locations for the store, three on Seminary Street and one on Main Street in Galesburg, and is in the process of seeking grants and low interest loans from the city to make his dream possible. As part of this, he is preparing to present a petition signed by community members who would like to see a bookstore in Galesburg to the city aldermen (the date for this is tentatively set for June 1). While he is still in the financing stage, Stomberg is hopeful and plans to have the location finalized by the end of this week.
According to Stomberg, the petition originated with Professor Peter Schwartzman and Knox students junior Abby Pardick and seniors Alissa Burger and Sam Bouman. There will be a meeting at The Center this Thursday, April 30, at 8:30 p.m. to discuss the progress of the bookstore. The petition is available at www.ipetitions.com/petition/galesburgbookstore.