FAIRMONT - If home is where the heart is, then a bookstore is most certainly home for a voracious reader like Sam Rouse.
Today is the debut of the Fairmont teen's entrepreneurial adventure Happy Owl Books. Located on First Street off Downtown Plaza, the used bookstore also offers a limited selection of furniture and music for sale.
Sam Rouse, 16, is the daughter of Jeff and Denise Rouse, who own several buildings on Downtown Plaza. Across the street from Happy Owl are Denise Rouse's consignment clothing shops - Giddy Up boutique and Hollywood Babe. Just up the block is Our Story Studios, run by Jeff Rouse.
Sam Rouse poses in one of the sitting areas in the Fairmont teen’s new used bookstore, Happy Owl Books.
Sam, a quiet girl with a love of Harry Potter and Doctor Who, did not inherit her parents' ease with people, but she comes out of her shell when books come into the conversation.
"It's interesting to see what different people read and just talking to people about books," she said.
With help from her mother, Sam created a comfortable setting that she hopes will attract fellow book lovers.
"I think it would be cool if people could sit around and read in here," she said.
Happy Owl is divided into several small reading areas, with books for children, teens and adults, with the selection ranging from contemporary to classic. Hard cover copies are just $2, and paperbacks are $1.
"I read all kinds of stuff," Sam said, mentioning John Green, J.K. Rowling, the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, historical fiction and artist biographies as some of her favorites.
"I have really random taste, but I'm really picky too. ... Right now I'm reading 'The Shining.'"
And she plans to branch out, exploring more of the classics and selections from her store's inventory, in order to better help her customers.
Happy Owl Books will be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Saturday. Regular business hours will be 4-7 p.m. Thursdays and 11-4 Saturdays. During the summer, when Sam is not in school, she plans to expand the hours. Donations are accepted, or Happy Owl does do consignment.