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A date with books at The Sisters Grimm

October 30, 2011

Yesterday, I needed to get out of town. I needed to get away from the temptation to go into work “just to check emails.”

For some months now, I’ve been meaning to go visit the family-run The Sisters Grimm secondhand book store in Bushnell (population 120 or so). It was the perfect excuse for a mini-vacation.

After a quick stop for an early lunch at the Banner County Cafe, I piloted south on Highway 71 to Kimball, dodging tumbleweeds propelled across the road by the late October gusts, and then west on Highway 30 to Bushnell. At Bushnell, I crossed the railroad tracks north into town, went to the stop sign, turned west, and voila – the cheerful red bookshop barn! (You can also access Bushnell from I-80 by heading north a few miles on County Road 17 from exit 8.)

It was October 30 and there was still a touch of snow on the ground from a storm earlier in the week.

I just adore the fact that the barn was once a horse barn, that the stalls have been preserved and that the book sections are organized within the stalls.

There’s a children’s section with toys and a nook under the stairs.

The cookbooks are displayed on a beautiful vintage stove.

This shelf label absolutely cracked me up. While she gets a lot of support from her family, Jamie Carpenter is the head honcho at the bookstore. She is, like me, a bibliophile, which presents her an occupational hazard.

A bibliophile who owns a bookstore wants to read all the books!

For Jamie’s sake (and mine!) I steered clear of “her” shelf. I had brought her a contribution of nine of my unwanted books, and I have a “to read” stack of about 20 books at home already. I didn’t need any more!

But of course I found a couple of books I wanted to read. And I forgot one of the cords for my computer, so I couldn’t take advantage of the free wifi at The Sisters Grimm to work on my blog, so I needed something to read! (A net offload of seven books – not bad.)

I picked up a copy of "Two Old Women" and a 1935 print of "Old Jules," which I've been meaning to read for a long time. Inside this particular Mari Sandoz book, the original owner pasted a newspaper article that reprinted a 1932 college essay that Sandoz wrote. You can't get character like that with a new book!

Jamie poured me a cup of coffee, and I settled into a chair by the wood pellet stove. She said it was a good thing they had just finished insulating the barn, in time for the cold, blustery weather.


Here is a sign that Jamie’s sister, Jessica, painted for the shop.

As I mentioned above, The Sisters Grimm is a family affair. In addition to the sisters, mom Deb Carpenter-Nolting (a teacher, writer, singer-songwriter on the Nebraska Humanities Council speakers index) and stepdad Tim Nolting (cowboy poet and columnist for the Gering Citizen) and Jessica’s partner, Juan, can often be found helping out around the bookstore.

The Sisters Grimm is also, like many small-town businesses, a multi-tasking business.

It is not just a used bookstore. It’s also a coffee shop, art gallery and antique/craft shop. Jessica promotes her photography business there. Jamie and Tim also do residential window replacement.

The Sisters Grimm is a great place to while away a few hours – just be sure you call if you’re coming from out of town, to make sure they’re open. If you don’t think the business itself is enough to attract you, there’s also Oliver Lake State Recreation Area just up the road as is (for you irrigation engineering history buffs) a preserved portion of the Maginnis Irrigation Flume, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Glad to see they got the NSHS designation and a turn-out from the highway for the flume.

Copyright 2011 by Katie Bradshaw

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 30, 2011 9:32 pm

    Deb and Tim read some of their writings here before you arrived—good stuff!

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