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WorkinCT: That Book Store providing a community gathering place around the rows of books

WETHERSFIELD --  There’s no need to be quiet in this book store. Not when Trivia Night is happening.

“I hope they have lots of fun,” said Isabelle Opper, manager of That Book Store.

A fun place for the community is what That Book Store hopes to be. It opened a year ago on the Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield, after the Opper family moved to Connecticut from Florida and saw a need in the community.

“Four years ago, we moved here, we looked for a local bookstore, and our local bookstore was Barnes and Noble in Glastonbury, but it doesn’t have that personal flair that an independent book store does,” said Karen Opper, owner of That Book Store.

After looking for the right place, the Oppers opened That Book Store, creating a space for people to hang out, grab a drink, while nestled among rows of books to browse.

“We host book clubs. We host writers’ groups. We even have a Buddhist philosophy group that meets here,” said Karen Opper.

As for the competition from online retail giants, the Oppers aren’t worried. They say there’s a resurgence of local book shops, because they offer something online can’t.

“The fact that you can come in and talk to somebody. You can connect with someone for a moment and ask them real questions,” said Isabelle Opper.

“People want community. People want their own independent book store. They want to go, and they like talking to us. We do a lot of talking throughout the day to people. We get to know their reading tastes, kind of know, oh, this is the Stephen King guy, or that’s the Nora Roberts lady. We know when they come in, and we try to accommodate those readers. That’s what you get from us versus going online,” said Karen Opper.

Karen Opper and her husband are both veterans, too. They do a lot of work with veterans in the area, and the book store is just one more way they can connect to the community.

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