Gretchen Montgomery of Square One Books

What do you like about doing business in Junction?

I love being a part of the supportive West Seattle and Junction Community. If I don’t have the book a customer needs, I call Leisure or Pegasus Books or Curious Kidstuff. I try to keep the business in the neighborhood. I know other Junction stores try do do the same for me. I love that the Junction has almost anything anyone would ever need. And I love Summer Fest and Movies on the Wall. It’s great we offer so much free and local entertainment for our community.

Photo:  Donna Ryan Photography
Photo: Donna Ryan Photography

How many years has your business been in The Junction?

Our store has been in Jefferson Square for more than 22 years. I have owned it for just over seven years. I was five months pregnant when I bought it. My crazy hormones gave me the courage to jump right in and take over something huge that I had little prior experience with! But much like parenting, I quickly got the hang of it. It’s great to see the growth of my son and the evolution of the store in the same context over the last seven years.

What are some challenges of owning a small, independent business?

I bought the store thinking it would allow me to have more free time with my family, but that is not quite the case. I am always on call. It is hard to go away, and when you are gone, you worry nonstop.  But at least I can bring my son to work with me if I need to-he knows how to ring up customers now, and he likes to recommend children’s books. Being a bookstore owner in this economy and digital age means I need to constantly be thinking about how to market my store and how to adapt to the changing times.

What other Junction shops do you like to patronize?

Any place that serves coffee. I am an addict. I visit Hotwire and Uptown quite a bit. I also love Funky Jane’s,  Clementine and Zamboanga. Shoofly Pie Company is wonderful. I only wish they delivered. I always want pie once I’m home in my pajamas, and it is pouring outside!

What is West Seattle’s best kept secret?

One of West Seattle’s best kept secrets is Jack Block Park. We love to take our bikes, rollerblades and skateboards there. We are often the only people there. I cannot believe I am revealing this. We like it because it is empty!