Alaska Small Business Development Center

Hearthside Books

Brenda Weaver approached the Alaska Small Business Development Center in Juneau early in 2014. After 18 years as a school teacher and literacy specialist, Weaver was contemplating purchasing Hearthside Books from Debbie Reifenstein and Susan Hickey, who had opened their first location almost 39 years ago in 1975. Weaver had over 12 years of experience selling books and her passion and experience in the world of literature made her a perfect candidate to take over the business. Business Advisor, Ian Grant, assisted Weaver in navigating the process of buying an existing business. Grant and Weaver completed a financial analysis, looked at ways to streamline costs, explored ways to tap into new target markets, looked over the purchasing agreement and much more.

Hearthside photo

“I came to SBDC hoping to find a “road map” to assist me in making an informed decision as to whether or not I should purchase the bookstore, basically meaning is the risk worth giving up a teaching career I have invested time, money, heart and soul into.” said Weaver, “Ian guided me through the process of creating projections, a business plan, and negotiating the purchase agreement and then taking a hard look at the business prior to signing on the dotted line. Once the decision was made Ian continued support through the loan process. I have scheduled time to meet with Ian quarterly to make sure the business stays on track. Ian’s patience and expertise helped alleviate stress levels tremendously! The SBDC is an amazing resource for businesses, new or existing”

After about a year of business ownership, Weaver is working with Grant on financial management and updating the projections in the business plan.

Hearthside Books has received a lot of local attention from news outlets such as KTOO , Juneau Empire, and others because of their longstanding stellar reputation in the community, a reputation Weaver plans to uphold. You can learn more about HearthSide Books by visiting their Website or their Facebook page. You can also stop by either of their Juneau locations-  their Nugget Mall store is open Monday through Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 12-5pm and their 254 Front Street location is open Monday through Saturday 10am-6pm.

Photo credit Casey Kelly, KTOO.