Friday, June 29, 2012
New bookstore sells more than reading material
Owner sees Reading with Noah, which recentlyopened at Bridgewater Plaza, as a ministry.
SHERESE GORE | Laker Weekly
Nancy Reneau stands outside the entrance to her Christian bookstore, Reading with Noah.
Reading with Noah is more than a business, it's a form of ministry, according to owner Nancy Reneau.
The small bookstore opened Memorial Day weekend in the Bridgewater Plaza complex, offering Christian books, references and Bibles in addition to inspirational-themed gift items and a small selection of non-religious material.
Reneau, a recent transplant from Alabama now living in Huddleston, said the decision to move to Smith Mountain Lake last month was simple. The area shares many physical similarities to her home state of Wisconsin and it moved her closer to her grandchildren, one of whom is the store's namesake: Noah
"He loves books and we always read to him," she said.
While Reading with Noah is new to the lake, its story began four years earlier in Tennessee.
Reneau's husband, Mark, had a strenous job in sales, which took a toll on his health, she said.
"He needed to get out of that stress level," Reneau added.
While working at a wholesale Christian book company, she was approached by her boss with a proposition: open a bookstore in Alabama.
"They chose the spot for us, they lined everything up for us," she said. "We just went down and ran it, basically."
After running the business as a partnership with Reneau's employer, the couple decided to go out on their own.
Her husband's health continued to deteriorate, prompting the couple to move closer to their daughter and grandchildren in Bedford. Arriving at the lake five days before the store's opening, she has worked continously to make Reading with Noah operational.
Reneau works seven days a week, assisted by three part-time employees, while handyman services such as painting of the store's interior and the installation of wall paneling was provided by her daughter and son-in-law, Kristin and Paul James.
Despite the challenges, Reneau maintains an optimistic spirit as demonstrated by the store's motto: "Live, Laugh, and Love."
"My husband and I have a true love for God and a true love for each other and our family," she said. "So we try to keep as much laughter in it as possible."
Reading with Noah, Bridgewater Plaza, 719-0189, www.readingwithnoah.com. Summer hours are Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.