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Pierre's Paper Soul
Jan 10, 2012
Many people consider an independent bookstore to be the heart and soul of their community. That seems to ring true in downtown Pierre, where the Prairie Pages Bookseller was recognized Monday night as the South Dakota Retailer of the Year.
Last summer was harrowing for all of Pierre's downtown businesses. To ward off the flooded Missouri, sandbag barriers were built on both sides of the street. Sinkholes appeared on downtown streets, some big enough to swallow a tiny car. To make matters worse, the odor of diesel fuel permeated the street because the high groundwater mixed with some long-buried diesel tanks.
Peggy Stout and Kathy Villa, the proprietors of Prairie Pages, exemplified the plucky Pierre business establishment. They bravely carried on with book signings, readings, book clubs and other activities that gave literary children and adults a place to gather and share their love of the written word.
It was a crazy summer, but somebody noticed their resilience. On Monday night, with a banquet hall full of lawmakers gathered on the eve of the State Legislative Session as well as fellow retailers from around South Dakota, Peggy and Kathy stepped forward to accept the Retailer of the Year honor.
They credited their readers for making the store possible. "You are the store," said Peggy. Maybe so, but somebody needs to oversee the day-to-day duties — things like choosing the books, paying the light bill and stacking the sandbags.