Megan's recalls her journey to opening Perham's Willow Bookstore - Part 1 of 2
by Megan Wells
Perham Willow Bookstore Owner
I was born in Staples and moved to Detroit Lakes before we settled down in Perham at the age of five. We lived just 3 miles out of town, but we spent nearly every weekend on a farm near Staples at my grandparents. As a kid, I was bummed to be missing so many roller skating invites, but as an adult, I cherish every memory with my relatives.
My senior year of high school I went post-secondary to M-State Community College in Detroit Lakes. I graduated the following year with my Associates degree in Architectural Drafting.
I worked in Fargo two years with this degree before realizing that the bigger city wasn’t for me. So I moved back to this amazing area and was a special education para in Detroit Lakes while doing online schooling for my teaching degree. After having my third son, I become a stay-at-home mom.
When my fourth child turned two, I started looking for some career options. While I was looking for some part-time work, I started toying with the idea of “the perfect job.” What was that?
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This quote led me to think of things that I love, and on that list was books.
My love of books came from always having them around when I was young. My mom was always buying them for my dad to read to us. At any overnight trip, my aunts and grandma traveled with books and read right before bed. My favorite book as a child was The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and I love to read it to my children still. In 5th grade, the main book that truly instilled “the feeling” you have while immersed in a story was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. I still feel so connected to that book.
I had mentioned to someone that I was going to look and see if the local bookstore in town was hiring and they mentioned that she might be retiring. This is when everything fell into place.
I took to Pinterest and simply searched “opening a bookstore” which lead to a program that was basically everything you need to know about opening a bookstore in one place! I took the online course, signed up for the February retreat in Florida and everything clicked. You could say it was “meant to be”.
I wouldn’t say I have learned a big “lesson” yet (maybe a few small ones), but the biggest piece of advice that is sticking with me is from a former bookstore owner. She said “no one will care about your store as much as you do.”
With this advice, I feel that going into it with no expectations leads me to have no disappointments. It is sort of freeing in a way!