Three Cats, Many Books: A Cat-Filled Bookstore Provides a Unique Shopping Experience

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By Danielle Duggan
Clinton County Chatter

St. Johns Book Exchange creates a unique atmosphere by having the owners Edwin and Gerty Lamb’s three cats, Snoopy, Boots, and Cuddles, wander around the store while customers shop. The animal trio adds a feeling of comfort and an inimitable experience.

While flipping through books, customers are purred at and have their ankles stroked by the three cats. Due to the excellent behavior of the animals, customers are able to pet and play with them while they shop at the store, located at 121 N. Clinton Ave.

“They all have their shots,” said Edwin Lamb. “The cats have been declawed on the fronts.”

According to Edwin Lamb, rather than buying their cats for the purpose of attracting customers, the pair has adopted all of the cats they own for their own enjoyment.

“We don’t buy cats. We adopted them,” said Edwin Lamb. “Two of them were found out in the back parking lot. Actually, all of them were.”

According to Gerty Lamb, the choice to keep the cats in the store is more for the couple’s enjoyment of playing with their cats at work than for business intentions.

“Cats go with books,” said Edwin Lamb. “I’ve just always associated cats with reading.”

Even though the feline additions to the shop weren’t strategically chosen to bring in customers, the animals still have a positive impact on customers.

“I like the cats running around,” said customer Shara Moffett. “It makes it feel more comfy, more cozy. Warm. And while I’m sitting down kneeling at books, I play with the cats.”

The shop acts as a bookstore, book exchange, and an antique store. The shelves are lined with reasonably priced new and used books, records, CDs, DVDs, stuffed animals, and various rare antiques.

“We have roughly between 40 and 50,000 books here… we have 5,500 different titles on DVDs, over 9,000 total DVDs, roughly 100,000 comics, about 300,000 sports cards, and all kinds of action figures and so forth,” said Edwin Lamb, one of the store’s two owners.

According to Edwin Lamb, the merchandise comes from various garage sales and other locations that he happens upon.

“[I get merchandise] wherever I can find it. There’s no specific source,” said Edwin Lamb. “I had a friend over in Lansing that had yard sales all over Lansing in that area. At the end of the year he’d contact me and I’d buy up what he…[had]. He’d have to get his grandma’s garage cleaned out. I’d make him an offer and take whatever he had.”

Various antiques in the store include vintage drinking glasses, original action figures, and porcelain figures.

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