It's a cozy nook that doubles as a children's bookstore.
Jack & Allies (Jack for Jack in the beanstalk and Allie for Alice in Wonderland) opened their doors on Hartford Turnpike in Vernon back in May. The owner, longtime Vernon resident Barbara Khan tells me, although she's never owned a bookstore, she's done just about everything else. "I've taught preschool, worked computer/insurance/investments... a stay at home mom, a working mom" the list goes on! Barbara is mom to a 19, 17 and 6 year old. She says "I'm trying to create a place that I wish existed when my older children were young, some place warm and inviting where every child will find something that inspires them to read." The store itself is just that, I wanted to put on a pair of cozy slippers and curl up with a good book when I walked in, because it feels just like your living room! It's divided into sections by age, but also features an area just for teachers. Barbara says the best part of her job is selecting the books. "I like to keep a lot of the classics on hand" but "what I really like is discovering the little known gem... I comb the internet... I talk to teachers, librarians, but mostly my customers." Barbara explained to me that an an independent, she can really cater to her customers because she only answers to herself. For example, she said, she carries a picture book on food allergies, "it sat on my shelf for 3 months, in another store, it may very well have been sent back if it didn't sell in that time. But, when a little girl came in wearing gloves to protect her skin from scratching her rashes from the allergies, I was able to show this book to her mom... they purchased the book and later her mom came back and told me how much her daughter had enjoyed and appreciated hearing about the characters that explained the issues she was coping with."
Jack & Allie's also features weekly story times often times with special guests. For example, this month, they're celebrating "Talk Like A Pirate Day" and "Elephant Appreciation Day!" The story times, which are called Story Plus, also include an activity, such as a game, song or a craft for the kids to make. You can also have your children's birthday party there! For a full schedule of events as well as the store hours, be sure to check out the website. You can also follow the bookstore on twitter @jackandallies. Barbara tells me "I hope that Jack & Allie's will be a part of the community for a long time to come!"