Nappanee Shop Features a Wide Array of Books, Puzzles, Crafts and More
Writer / Matt Keating
A longtime love of reading and discussing books led Wanda Campbell to open Bella’s Books & Curiosities in Nappanee. It’s a job she has thoroughly enjoyed.
“I have been selling books for over 10 years,” Campbell says. “I started out in Middlebury, Indiana, and quickly outgrew the space I had available there. I moved to Nappanee, and then to The Cow Shed, next to Amish Acres, also in Nappanee. When that closed, I had a spot in Elkhart for a short time. A little over a year ago, I formed a partnership with Amy Cleveland and Barry Sponseller, owners of Country Home Shoppe in Coppes Commons, and we opened in our current spot on Main Street in Nappanee. We opened in February 2020 for a few weeks, closed due to COVID-19, and then opened again in mid-May.”
Campbell’s reason for keeping the bookstore going is simple – reading.
“It’s just a love of books,” Campbell says. “I like to talk with people about what they like to read, make recommendations, and then find out if they liked my recommendation. In turn, I try new authors that my customers have enjoyed. I really like to see the kids come in and find a book. They come through the door, and immediately head to the kids section, where they can find books, puzzles, games, craft kits, sticker sets, activity pads and seek-and-find books. I have made quite a few friends through the bookstore as people come in and spend time.”
Campbell has books in almost all genres – general fiction, history, westerns, young adult, Christian fiction, memoirs, classics and more.
“I have a children’s section with board books, beginning readers, chapter books and beloved classics,” Campbell says.
Campbell has her own personal favorite books.
“I used to think I read quite a bit, seven to 10 books a month, until I opened the bookstore and met other readers,” she says.
“Currently, my favorite authors include Joseph Heywood, C. J. Box, Lee Child, Ari Marmell, Darynda Jones, John L. Campbell, Cherie Priest and Christopher Moore. As far as favorite books, I have so many it is hard to say which is my favorite. I love any book that is well written, and has a twist that I didn’t see coming, although I do enjoy a lighthearted, feel-good story.”
Campbell carries other items besides books at the shop.
“I have a large selection of puzzles,” Campbell says. “I carry mainly SunsOut, White Mountain, MasterPieces, and Hart puzzles, a new company that makes puzzles here in Indiana.”
Bella’s Books also offers Naked Bee lotion, a product made in Tennessee.
“It’s all the good stuff, and none of the bad stuff,” Campbell says. “I have two sizes of the lotion, as well as a gift set.”
Campbell notes that Bella’s Books has Melissa and Doug products for kids, including activity pads, sticker sets, puzzles and crafts. There are also wood kits for kids to assemble and paint.
“We have Bunnies By The Bay, a baby product line offering onesies, rattles, blankets, plush animals, booties and more,” Campbell says. “We also have seasonal home decor, Wrendale cards, bookmarks, notepads, gift bags and candles. We also have local crafted birdhouses made from Golden Books.”
Campbell has been pleased with the number of loyal customers she has.
“I have a local following, as well as people from out of the area,” Campbell says. “I am extremely grateful they have found me again. I did not want to leave the Nappanee area, so I am delighted to be back. It is great to see longtime customers come through the door.”
Campbell stresses that she gets new merchandise regularly.
“We have more than just books,” Campbell says. “The store has unique items throughout, so you never know just quite what you will find. I do, however, bring in book inventory every week, so what I have to offer changes often. Customers can bring in books they no longer want, and I buy books outright that are in good condition. Of course, donations are greatly appreciated.”
Campbell values her staff.
“I do have two wonderful employees – Kathy Schnitz, who has been with me since we opened, and Syreeta Moore, who just joined us a couple of months ago,” Campbell says. “Both of them are very knowledgeable of what we have, and can make recommendations. I am in the store most Saturdays, and sometimes throughout the week.”
Bella’s Books & Curiosities is located at 151 South Main Street in Nappanee. For more info, call 574-333-8127, or email email@example.com.