Jennifer behind the Counter, Green Bean Books, Portland, Oregon
We have lots of old vending machines all around the store. This one sells finger puppets. I make those. They’re muskrats, and we change them out to be different characters frequently. … This old tampon machine is a mustache and beard machine. There’s a baby machine over here where you can adopt a baby with a birth certificate. This one is unlikely friendships (it’s based on a book that became popular last year): you get two animals that wouldn’t necessarily be friends and a little quotation about friendship.
We have these little boxes around the store, too. … These are dioramas. This last time we had a diorama contest with kids, and they did the dioramas this time. Sometimes we have visiting artists, or sometimes I make them.
Kids can come in and discover things; that’s the idea—they can explore. It’s fun to do things like that. They’re based on books. We started to sell miniatures, too, because people got so into the dioramas, as a sideline to go with books.
We’re a place where people can meet, talk, and have activities. I feel like we’re a community resource in some ways, or a gathering place. Sometimes I feel like: are we a non-profit, or are we a business?
owner, Green Bean Books, Portland, OR