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Wonderland Books and Games offers new experience

By Malorie Paine
On August 6, 2013

Walking into a local bookstore and experiencing the crack of a new spine isn't something most UTM students can say they've been able to experience, at least, not without driving for an hour at minimum.

Wonderland Books and Games, an independent bookstore, opened on Aug. 1 and is hoping to offer the Martin community a new experience.

 "We are the anti-Barnes and Noble. If you go to a Barnes and Noble, it is a big impersonal bookstore with a Starbucks inside it; here you've got an independent coffee shop with a small and personal bookstore inside it, a reverse Barnes and Noble," said Jeff Stumpo, bookstore owner and UTM English professor.

The personal feel of the store is one that Stumpo prides himself on. As long as his distributor can get the book, Stumpo has no problem placing custom orders for his customers. As another bonus to the new store, UTM students and faculty will receive a 10 percent discount on all books and games.

Working in a bookstore has always been in Stumpo's plans, he just hadn't planned on it being so soon.

"I wanted to retire someday and do one of two things, either work in a museum or a bookstore," Stumpo said.

Though he currently isn't planning his retirement, his dream of working in a bookstore has just begun. Stumpo opened Wonderland inside The Looking Glass, which is a specialty coffee shop in downtown Martin. Both stores are located at 215 S. Lindell Street.

"The books are important, but it's not just the books; you have to be able to provide an experience," Stumpo said.

The combination of Wonderland and The Looking Glass offers an experience that cannot be found in Martin right now. Coffee, books and games in one location brings something unique to UTM students and the community alike.

 "Every college town deserves an independent book store," Stumpo said.

Wonderland provides the community with a variety of genres including, but not limited to Young Adult, History, Philosophy, Religion, Children's Books, Science Fiction and of course, the Classics. Stumpo also plans on selling several local authors' works in the store as well.

"I'd like [opening Wonderland] to make Looking Glass even more of a community anchor than it already is," Stumpo said.

The store is hoping to host several events such as poetry readings and game nights. Although the poetry readings are still in the early planning stages, the first game night will be held Aug. 6 at 7 p.m.

"I'm trying to reach out to different poets I know around the country to set up live Skype readings; it's hard to bring people to the area, but [through Skype] I can still offer the experience [of a live reading,]" Stumpo said.

In selling games, Stumpo wants to introduce ones that aren't necessarily in the mainstream. He says there are many games out there that aren't Monopoly but are just as easy to play.

"There are a lot of gamers in the area and the store will make it much easier for them to get supplies and games," Andrew Cochran, an Electrical Engineering student, said.

 Stumpo handpicked the variety of advanced board and card games that he offers in Wonderland.

Even since its opening just a few days ago, Wonderland has become a hit among students, recent grads and community members.

"I like Wonderland because it is inside The Looking Glass, which I already love and I don't have to drive an hour to get to a bookstore," Misty Dunlap, a recent UTM graduate said.

To experience the magic of Wonderland Books and Games, visit the store Monday through Thursday 7:30 a.m.- 6 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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