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PROVO — A longtime resident of Provo’s Center Street, Pioneer Book, has relocated back to its hometown and just a few blocks from its former longtime location.
After moving to State Street in Orem for three years following a property acquisition for Nu Skin’s expansion, Pioneer Book has returned to Center Street in Provo at 450 West Center Street, west of the previous space it located for more than 20 years.
“We’re really excited to get back into the Provo community. We’re right across from the Covey Center. We’re really excited to be back here,” said retail manager Travis Patten. “It really is like coming home. That’s strange, but it’s much better being back in Provo.”
The new location, sandwiched between historical buildings, takes advantage of downtown Provo’s foot traffic, proximity to both universities and gives the company more opportunity to participate in community events, Patten said. The space itself has allowed Pioneer Book to renovate for its needs and create a reading room that can be reserved for book clubs and other groups.
Pioneer Book decided in March to move from its Orem location. The company was able to obtain the 450 West location and begin remodeling during the fall. It completed its move in November.
Many customers, Patten said, lost track of the company after its 2010 move. State Street was also a “difficult location,” as foot traffic was uncommon and people were passing by too quickly to notice the store before heading further down the road.
Book stores should be warm and cozy and comfortable. The whole downtown atmosphere, I think, lends itself to that better (than State Street).
–Travis Patten, Pioneer Book
“Book stores should be warm and cozy and comfortable. The whole downtown atmosphere, I think, lends itself to that better (than State Street),” Patten said. “You’re going slower, you’re more relaxed, you’re not driving past the store at 50 mph.”
When the company began its move, Provo said it was excited to have Pioneer Book back, Patten said. Customers had some mixed reaction to the location’s distance from Orem. Overall, though, feedback has been positive, he said.
“People were really excited we were coming back here,” Patten said. “We were here for so long, it’s been really fun and and nice to see the reception from our customers — some who had lost us when we went to Orem and are now just finding us again and others who are just finding us anew. Glad to have a bookstore downtown again.”
More than anything, Patten said, the new location continues a legacy that has been built up by the Horsley family and the role Pioneer Book plays in the community.
“(Rick Horsley's) father started this business over 30 years ago and he passed it onto his son. Rick has made a ton of sacrifices to put it here,” Patten said. “The book business is not a really lucrative business. It’s a labor of love. We’re in it because we think books deserve a chance, deserve homes and we have a responsibility of preserving these out-of-print books that you can’t pick up at Barnes and Noble. You can find a lot of them online, but you can’t walk in and hold them, you can’t look at them. We have employees here that are knowledgeable. All of the books that come in are picked by hand.”