A fresh look for Appletree Books
Alice Webster and Lynn Quintrell are the new co-owners of Appletree Books in the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood. Jane Kessler, now 93, founded the business and ran it for 25 years.
“It’s a destination,” a loyal customer said of the store.
Now, with imagination, enthusiasm and know-how, Webster and Quintrell have transformed this landmark into an even more enticing hangout for book lovers of all ages.
“It’s quirky, vintage and homey,” said Quintrell.
Memorabilia abounds, starting with the old but newly repainted wooden doors. The store windows are a stage set for hot-off-the-press fiction, mystery, biography, science, poetry, children’s books and cookbooks.
An old Royal typewriter sits opposite the book, If You Give A Mouse An iPhone.” A little, blue 1940s Amelia Earhart suitcase owned by Quintrell’s Granny Crogan is full of journals and oldies but goodies like The Three Little Peppers.
Quintrell’s great-grandfather’s tackle box holds gift cards. The collage behind the new counter and up-to-date computer system was created from the pages of an old hand-me-down book, Games Children Play, the frontispiece inscribed for an aunt; Christmas, 1902.
The pièce de résistance is the newly crafted staircase leading to the reading loft. On the risers, Cleveland Heights artist Lari Jacobson has painted the book spines of some of Quintrell’s favorites. Lying on her side for hours, Jacobson painted Jane Austen’s Emma, Mary Poppins, ’B’ Is For Betsy, The Tulip, Stuart Little and others.
“These books resonate with me personally,” said Quintrell, an energetic bookseller and voracious reader. She stocks a well-rounded collection, timely and important to a broad audience of readers from the Heights, University Circle, and elsewhere. Works by authors Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Lethem, Joshua Ferris and Dave Eggers are on the shelves.
“We offer a well-curated selection of new books. The goal is to be an informed book source for readers,” said Quintrell, who can put her hands on nearly every book in the store. Inexpensive but intriguing gift items and distinctive cards are also available.
Appletree holds book discussion groups and author events. On Dec. 12, Appletree and neighbor Ten Thousand Villages will host an evening for shoppers, serving hors d’oeuvres and dessert, respectively.
“At the end of the day, I want my customers to say, ‘Great! [Both in regard to] What I bought and the experience of just being in Appletree . . .’ ” Quintrell said.
12419 Cedar Road
Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Mary Krogness is an author of two books. A longtime resident of Cleveland Heights, she now resides in Cleveland.