Santa Maria Sun / Biz Brief
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 28
Spotlight on: The BookwormOwners: Darin Gabler and Beckie Hellwig
BY AMY ASMAN
“Can I help you find anything?” Darin Gabler asked as a woman walked through the door of The Bookworm, a charmingly quaint used bookstore in Santa Maria.
“No, thank you. I know right where to go,” the woman replied with a smile and made her way toward the back of the store. She stopped momentarily to say hello to Sheila Butterworth, who opened the shop in 2005.
“That’s one of the regulars,” Darin explained. “Sheila has made a lot of friends, and they’ve all been very kind to me. She’s been introducing me to everyone.”
Gabler and his wife, Beckie Hellwig, are in the closing process of buying The Bookworm from Butterworth.
“We’ve been customers pretty much since she opened, and we’ve become friends,” Gabler said. “We love books, and we love coming here.”
So when Butterworth decided she was ready retire and sell her business, Gabler and Hellwig seemed like a natural fit.
“We want to continue what Sheila has created. A lot of people, when they hear about a change in management, might worry that [the store] isn’t going to be the same quaint, wonderful place,” Hellwig said. “But we want to keep it the way it is.”
She said they plan to add some additional merchandise, like small pieces of artwork, cards, photography, and maybe some used DVDS.
“But the bottom line is we still want to be a good bookstore—something that’s unique and not commercial,” Gabler added.
They’d also like to build on the store’s strengths by adding to Butterworth’s array of collectible and children’s books.
“Some of books we have aren’t even in the store. We have a lot of art and photography books, and metaphysical books, but we also have contemporary books, paperbacks, and classics,” Gabler said. “We have something for everyone.”
Both Gabler and Hellwig are looking forward to meeting new people and helping them find the perfect book, whether they have a specific title in mind or are just looking for a good read—the same way Butterworth helped them when they were customers.
When asked why she decided to sell the shop, Butterworth said, “I’m going to be 78 soon. That’s old enough to stop climbing ladders.”
She said the business, and the customers who frequent it, have meant a lot to her.
“A lot of great people come here. My customers are wonderful people. They bring me food and gifts. I even get phone calls when I’m sick,” she said.
Butterworth’s plans for retirement include a trip to Ireland, but she she’ll also stop in at The Bookworm from time to time to say hello.
“Who knows? I might have a whole new career, a whole new life ahead of me,” she said. “I keep saying I want someone with acreage to adopt me so I can open my donkey farm.”
One of Butterworth’s lifelong dreams is to raise donkeys. She almost started a farm back in 1990, but ended up going into the book business instead. She keeps a picture of a donkey behind the cash register at The Bookworm as a reminder.
So if donkey farm doesn’t work out, she could always write a book about it instead.
The Bookworm is at 230 E. Betteravia Road, suite K, and can be reached by calling 922-4282.
• Once again, Inc. magazine has included Hardy Diagnostics in its list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America.
The Inc. list ranks companies by revenue growth over a three-year period, and for 2012, Santa Maria-based medical product manufacturer is listed at No. 4,532 overall, and No. 342 in the health industry. Over the past three years, the magazine reports, Hardy Diagnostics has achieved sales growth of 20 percent, boasting $29.3 million in revenue in 2011.
“This honor is the result of the hard work our employees put in every single day,” Hardy Diagnostics president Jay Hardy said in a press release. “We have a great group of people and it shows.”
The companies on the Inc. list have created more than 400,000 jobs in the past three years, with aggregate revenue among the honorees reaching $299 billion. Hardy Diagnostics employs 195 people in Santa Maria.
For complete results of the Inc. 5,000, including company profiles, visit inc.com/5000.
Managing Editor Amy Asman wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Highlights are written and compiled by Staff Writer Jeremy Thomas. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, e-mail, or mail.
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