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Founded in 1981 by Thomas Loome and his wife Karen, Loome Books has been a fixture among bibliophiles pretty much from the moment Loome opened the doors to an empty old multi-storied Swedish Covenant Church honeycombed with labyrinthine rooms which served as the bookstore’s storefront.
Earlier this year, the ecclesial setting for Loome’s thousands of shelved titles was exchanged for something a little more rustic. In 2008, Loome sold the bookstore to Christopher Hagen and Andrew Poole, and last year with his wife Christelle, Hagen decided to move the famous bookstore to the 14.5 acre farmstead on the outskirts of Stillwater which the Hagens purchased in June of last year.
The business remains as vibrant as ever, though the new owners are facing a new set of challenges as the Internet gives bookstores a run for their money – competing both for customer business and the attention of readers distracted by texts, e-mails and other modern alternatives to the book.
On the Feast of the Assumption, 12 years ago, Hagen said, he began his first day of work at Loome’s, fitting hardcover books with transparent plastic protective covers.
“I saw an ad in the Catholic Spirit independent Catholic newspaper for a position at a theological bookstore in Stillwater,” he recalled. “The ad said those applying must be bookish and that’s when my wife said, ‘That sounds like you.’”
Having worked his way up in the company to one of the store’s managers, he said, he decided to buy the bookstore when it became clear that Loome was looking to retire.
After I win the lottery, Joseph O'Brien will be on my staff.