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Provo – They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but one Utah County bookstore has found that its beautiful new cover has brought the best kinds of judgment: excitement, approval and increased business.
Provo’s Pioneer Book has a new attention-grabbing exterior: a mural of giant books covering its façade. In November 2013 the longtime Utah County bookstore moved into two adjacent buildings at 450 W. Center Street. The buildings’ exterior walls were an unremarkable white brick and stucco. Store manager Travis Patten knew early on that those walls had potential.
“We really wanted something that would grab peoples’ attention, something that would let people know we’re there and what we’re doing,” Patten said. “We want to get people in so they can enjoy finding books.”
Pioneer Book hired Utah County decorator Alicyn Wright, who specializes in faux finish painting. In July, Wright went to work on the buildings, and within about a week, the dull white walls had been transformed into a giant bookshelf, stacked with the colorful spines of classic books such as Anna Karenina, The Lord of the Rings and Hamlet.
The new façade has been an attention-grabber. It wasn’t long before pictures of the store had been shared on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites tens of thousands of times. The publicity has paid off so far, Patten said. Many customers in the past few weeks have come to the store after seeing pictures through social media. “It just kept getting shares and views,” Patten said. “It was fun to see people all over the country commenting on it.”
Pioneer Book has been around in various Utah County locations for nearly three decades. It spent about 20 years at a Provo Center Street location farther east, before it sold the space to Nu Skin and moved to Orem for three years. The store came back to Provo last year. Pioneer sells used, new and rare books.
“We love books and we want to reach people who love books too,” Patten said.