Patti Pattee, the owner of Watermark Books, is offering the store for sale after more than 25 years as a local landmark.
Pattee and her late husband Norman Sturdevant opened the doors of the Watermark Book Company in what used to be the Carpenters Union Hall on Commercial Ave. on November 20th, 1989.
Now, in an email to her subscriber list, Pattee writes, “After 35 years of bookselling, I have decided it's time to retire and pursue other passions.”
“My husband Norman Sturdevant and I opened Watermark in the fall of 1989 and developed it into a highly-regarded independent bookstore with a strong inventory as well as a knowledgeable, experienced staff. The business is healthy and growing. The future of the bookstore is bright in a community that treasures the arts, poetry, literature, and good bookstores,” she writes.
The store has faced many challenges over the years, including the rock-slide that closed Highway 20, the growth of chain bookstores, Norman's death in 1999, the rise of the "Big River" (Amazon.com), and the advent of eReaders, Pattee said.
Pattee, a former English teacher in California, moved to the Northwest with her husband over 35 years ago with the dream of opening an independent bookstore to serve the community. Over the years the Watermark Book Company has hosted many memorable community events, readings, and author talks. The store provides a unique inventory of books that cover a breadth and depth of subjects.
Generations of locals have grown up gaining a love for reading at the Watermark Book Company. Pattee remembers one little boy who was a reluctant reader on his first visit her store, but started coming back more and more often. Pattee smiles when she says that he now teaches literature at Western Washington University.
"That's why brick and mortar stores like this are so important. They allow you find treasures you didn't even know you were looking for. Books can take you to all kinds of places and you can learn so much." Pattee said, in an interview in 2014.
Photo: Facebook, Watermark Books on their 25th anniversary in 2014.