Annie Carl’s mom should have seen this coming.
Her mother rushed into her room one morning to check on her, then a 9-month-old baby. She hadn’t woken her mom up at the usual time. Mom found her holding a book (albeit upside down) in her hands, turning its pages.
That was just the beginning of Annie Carl’s devoted connection with books.
She began working at a used bookshop in her hometown of Kingston beginning at age 15 — a self-described punky kid who kept pestering the owners for a job until they finally gave her one.
She continued to work there while a Running Start student at Edmonds Community College, later graduating from Western Washington University in 2006.
After a battle with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 24, she began considering the “What’s next?” part of her life.
A move to Kirkland led her to asking — in once-a-week trips — for a job at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. It was a job she won, and kept, for five years.
She was asked if she would like to buy and run the Kingston bookshop she had worked at as a teenager. At this point, she was living in Mill Creek and finally decided “it wasn’t in the cards.”
That offer though, did spur further thought. She returned to EdCC for a certificate in small business accounting.
Now reader, can you see what’s coming?
In October 2015, she opened The Neverending Bookshop, all 560 square feet of it, in Bothell — initially as a used bookstore and later mixing in new books as well.
In May, when she learned her lease would end in August, her only options were to close or move. She decided to move. The next question was where?
She thought about downtown Snohomish or other places in Bothell, but the available spots were all were too big and too expensive.
Then one day on her way to Kingston, a trip she and her son were making to visit her parents, she decided to take the back roads to the Edmonds ferry terminal, as was sometimes her custom.
She spotted a small business development and decided to call one of the shops. She learned a tenant was leaving, but at 1,230 square feet, it was more than twice the size of her shop in Bothell.
When first offered the space, she turned it down. But she reconsidered and called back the next day.
“It was the right space at the right moment,” she said. “It seemed to all line up.” She signed a three-year lease.
This despite the fact it’s just 3½ miles from downtown Edmonds, with the long-established Edmonds Bookshop, a bookstore she began visiting as a kid on day trips from Kingston.
Carl said the owner of that bookshop, Mary Kay Sneeringer, welcomed her when Sneeringer was told about her plans.
On Sept. 19, the day Carl reopened her bookstore in Edmonds, Sneeringer’s husband stopped by with flowers. The unspoken credo among independent bookshops is “we’re all helping each other out,” Carl said.
Her bookshop’s events calendar is beginning to fill up. Author readings are scheduled through the end of the year and there are group meet-ups for science fiction and fantasy, as well as romance book lovers.
Her mom, Nancy Tietje, hops the Kingston ferry on Sundays to run the shop.
On other days, Carl’s 2-year-on son, Calvin, often greets shoppers as they enter the store. “He’s like my Wal-Mart greeter,” she said.
Carl, 34, said she’s been encouraged by those who come to her shop and are excited that it’s there.
“My life is books and will be ’til I’m too old to lift a book,” she said. “This is always what I wanted to do.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
What: The Neverending Bookshop
Where: 7530 Olympic View Drive, Unit 105, Edmonds
When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
More: 425-415-1945 or www.theneverendingbookshop.com