Caption: The open airy space of a former church makes a great spot for bookstore. Seen here is owner of the Chester Creek Bookstore, Mark Kilen. Photo by Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff
Mark Kilen says he has always thought a church building was the perfect place to display used books and antiques. Last year, he and his wife, Kay, purchased the church building at 1333 E. Superior St. It had former been the location of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Kilen says a church building lends itself well to a bookstore because there is ample space and the high ceilings give an open and bright feeling. “It is aesthetically pleasing and the books don’t look stuffed in,” said Kilen.
Kilen retired as a radiologist 12 years ago. Currently he manages the Old Town Antique Mall in downtown Duluth and he also has books and antiques at other antique malls in the area. He estimated that he has about 20,000 books in the store.
The collection of books at Chester Creek Books are mostly hardcover and are concentrated around the subjects of local or regional history, hunting, and “The West” as well as early American history. Kilen says, “We don’t have Danielle Steel or a lot of westerns.” Other subject areas include sports, nature, cooking, antiques, crafts and decorating. He hopes to add a children’s section. He likes collecting and selling hardcover books because they hold their value better and they are in better shape than paperbacks.
The majority of books are priced between $5.00 and $15.00.
The store is open Wednesday through Saturday and opens at 10 a.m. It is open until 9 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. on Saturday.