MANSFIELD -- End-of-the-year bonuses are enjoyed by many employees this time of year, but the luxury is rarely afforded to small business owners.
Llalan Fowler, manager of Main Street Books, is an exception. Fowler recently received a “Christmas bonus” from the James Patterson Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program.
Each year, the program gives Christmas bonuses to a select number of independent bookstore employees across the country.
This year, the program received more than 2,500 nominations and awarded $500 to 500 recipients. The funds come from Patterson, an author of both adult and children’s fiction, and are distributed by the American Booksellers Association.
Fowler has been nominated multiple times by her customers.
“It was really an honor to know that people who come into the store really appreciate what I do. It meant a lot,” Fowler said.
Fowler worked in bookstores in Washington, D.C., Boston and New York City before returning home to Richland County to manage Main Street Books in 2011.
The store regularly opens its doors for local authors, poets and artists to display and discuss their work. It also hosts recurring events such as kids’ storytime, book club meetings and adult craft sessions.
“(Local bookstores) are not just a retail shop. They promote a culture of ideas and imagination,” said Fowler.
“I think what Llalan does at Main Street Books is really remarkable,” said Tracy Graziani, who has nominated Fowler for the award in the past. “It’s a place where people who love books can find their tribe. Some of the best friends I have in Mansfield I met at Main Street Books.”
Customer Heidi Roush said she enjoys shopping at Main Street Books because of the quality of materials on the shelves.
“They take very special care of what they offer,” she said. “I think the books that are here are curated to be the best books.”