Bazoo Books, formerly Reader's World, located on the north side of the State Fair Shopping Center facing 14th Street, is now open for business.

Owner Carrie Lysell of Pettis County took over the 1,000-square-foot business Jan. 1. (The old location in the shopping center was 4,700 square feet) This is the third business she has owned, the first being a heating & cooling company, and then State Beauty Supply here in Sedalia.

“I came to Sedalia to manage State Beauty Supply. My brother owned it, and then after six years, I bought it. But then I sold it in 2022,” Lysell recalled. “I was happily retired,” she laughed, “until I walked into the bookstore (as a customer).”

Lysell said she remains retired and the bookstore is simply a hobby.

“When the bookstore was for sale the first time, I was so tempted when Matt (Petree) bought it. But I still had State Beauty, and there was no way that was going to happen,” said the St. Louis native. She has been a resident of Sedalia for 23 years.

“I came in to pick up books that I had ordered with (Matt),” Lysell said. It was really sad. And he didn't have my books ordered. He had made the decision that, in two days, he was going to announce that the store would be closing at the end of the year,” Petree had other customers come in at that time, looking for their specially ordered books as well.

“Poor Matt was struggling … I asked him what is really going on here? He pulled out this folder of special orders. And I said, well you need to order those now, and I gave him my credit card, and said please order these books,” Lysell said. “And he thought I was a little crazy.”

She went home on Oct. 26 and made a long list of the potential of the bookstore “because I love books,” she said, adding that “my biggest weaknesses are books and plants.”

She later returned and told Matt “your floors look like crap. We have to do something with them.”

Carrie called Carpet Plus and they came out and measured everything. “And that was way too much money. Then they suggested having the floors cleaned. They looked so bad, I didn't know that was even possible. They were bad bad. They're not great now, but they were horrible,” she said.

“So I had a floor guy from State Beauty (Roberto) come and strip & wax the floors, and it made such a difference,” Carrie said. “It's those little things that make a big difference. If you don't have money, it doesn't matter. You just have to make the best with what you have,” she said. “We had a very honest conversation.”

Carrie added that she wanted Matt's wife on board as well. Carrie wanted to keep Matt on the payroll as the manager with her as the business owner.

“Matt needed to stay, because I don't want a job. I 'm going to do it as long as it's fun. Once the weather gets nice, I'm in the garden,” said the Master Gardner.

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“Before Matt bought it, the (previous owners) had been having a going-out-of-business sale for months, so inventory was already depleted, and to refurbish a space that big, it's a lot of money for inventory,” Carrie said.

“With the used books, there hadn't been a lot of discretion in what went on the shelf. So one of the first things we did here was build the inventory and get ahead of the new releases, because this new release shelf had three books in it when I first came in. And you can't be in business if you don't have what people want. And February was a big month for them. So finally, we're getting ahead of the curve. It doesn't mean we have every new release, because there are so many (new) books, but you kind of know your customer base, and we order weekly, so you have to be strategic on how many issues you want, because you don't want to be out immediately,” Carrie explained, adding that there is such a thing as “Book-Tok."

Also another thing Carrie learned about the book business was there is a new genre called “Romantasy,” a combination of romance and fantasy. “This is a fun place,” Carrie said. “I love it … I'm committed to this being successful and it being a destination and a huge part of the community.”

Future plans call for Bazooka Books to be a part of
“Now there's an alternative to Amazon,” Carrie noted.

The new name of the bookstore was provided by James Page, a retired history professor at SFCC, who was the winner of a naming contest.

Bazoo Books is open 10 a.m., to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday
and 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call (660) 827-0940 for more information.

Bazoo Books

Gallery Credit: Randy Kirby

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