New owners hoping to write their own chapter at Off the Beaten Path
The Off the Beaten Path Bookstore turned a new page earlier this month after the longtime owners sold the popular downtown bookstore, coffee house and bakery to Danielle and Mike Skov.
The Skovs took over the operation on July 13 from Ron and Sue Krall, who purchased the bookstore in 2008 from Dick and Leslie Ryan.
“The primary thing was knowing that Danielle and Mike would be wonderful stewards of the of the community treasure that the bookstore has become,” Ron Krall said. “We weren’t otherwise really looking for anybody to sell the bookstore to, but when Danielle and Mike came forward and expressed their interest to us, we felt like the investment of nearly 30 years that the Ryans and we had made in the bookstore would be in good hands.”
The bookstore’s history dates back to the late 1980s when it was known as Boomtown Books and located in the 900 block of Lincoln Avenue.
Dick Ryan and his wife Leslie purchased Boomtown after Dick saw a small classified advertisement announcing the sale in the Wall Street Journal. After the purchase, the couple moved from Los Angles to Steamboat Springs, where they had purchased a home, and began running the store.
A year later, they moved Boomtown to a new location off Lincoln Avenue on Seventh Street and changed its name to the Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. They also borrowed a concept from the West Coast by incorporating a cafe into the bookstore.
The Skovs are the third owners since that transition, and they are eager to carry on the traditions that the bookstore has brought to Steamboat Springs.
“We feel like it’s really important for our town to have a bookstore, specifically an independent bookstore,” Danielle said. “We think that (a bookstore) is a key component of a town and especially our town. To get to be part of it is really fun.”
The Skovs moved to Steamboat Springs 24 years ago and started teaching at the Lowell Whiteman Primary School — now known as Emerald Mountain School. Danielle also taught at Steamboat Springs Middle School and most recently at Soda Creek Elementary.
She also worked as an English teacher in Chicago and went back to school to get her master’s degree. She said that after moving to Steamboat Springs, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Coffeehouse and Bakery Café became a regular stop for her, Mike and their three children — Lark, 24, Mac, 22, and Posey, 18.
Danielle and Mike approached the Kralls a while back and told them that if they ever decided to sell the store, they were interested. For Danielle, the timing of this opportunity could not have been better.
“I love teaching,” Danielle said. “But I was ready do something else and for the next part of my life — the next 10 to 20 years. This seems like a good place to be.”
At this point, the plan is to get a feel for how things work at the store and get acquainted with the staff of 20 people, many of whom have been with the bookstore for years.
“I’m just trying to learn for the first several months. Then, maybe when it’s a little bit slower in the fall, we can think and as a team just talk about any changes we might want to make,” Danielle said. “I feel so fortunate that our staff has stayed the same.
The store is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
Inside, visitors will find a full-service coffee bar and bakery, as well as books, cards and gifts. Books are available in print, digital and audio, and if the store does not have it in stock, the items can be special ordered.
Danielle said it is also a great place to find a unique gift. Of course, the store will continue to offer plenty of welcoming smiles and great personal service, a tradition that dates back to the original owners.
“We’re most proud and happy to see that Off the Beaten Path is still an important part of the community,” Krall said. “We always saw it as more than a business, but rather one of the one of the cornerstones of the community.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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