Mt. Pleasant is set to get its first bookstore with the grand opening of Sleepy Dog Books on May 6.
The opening celebration will include live music downtown, as well as an array of other local businesses setting up booths and pop-up shops on Broadway Street.
Sleepy Dog Books is owned and operated by Riley and Jennifer Justis. The pair are graduates of Central Michigan University and lifelong educators, settling in Mt. Pleasant to raise their children. The Justis kids also inspired the name of the store, as reading to their two dogs became a tradition of sorts for the family.
“We always said to ourselves we were going to try to find a place to raise our kids by the time they were in kindergarten and stick to that place,” said Riley Justis. “Mt. Pleasant just happened to be the place that we moved to for my Ph.D.. We fell back in love with the community from the family side.”
As educators, the Justis’ have a lifelong passion for reading, and Sleepy Dog Books provides a way to spread that passion to the community.
Locals do not have to wait for the brick-and-mortar store to get their book-fix. Sleepy Dog has an online ordering system, where customers in Mt. Pleasant can order books through the store’s website. The orders are shipped directly to the consumer. The online store can be accessed via Sleepy Dog Books’ website.
Sleepy Dog Books has also given the community small tastes of the store with pop-up booths at local events. Filled with books and other merchandise, the pop-ups are a preview of what is to come.
“Just shopping at their booths got me excited,” said Dominic Sevilla, a Mt. Pleasant local. “I can’t wait for the actual store to open.”
Like the pop-ups, the brick-and-mortar store will have more than just books. There will be cards, stuffed animals and other gift-shop type items.
The community and the grand opening
Sleepy Dog Books will be the only bookstore in Mt. Pleasant. The store joins the growing business community downtown, with Ponder Coffee and GreenTree Co-op Grocery a short distance away.
“I love what they’re doing downtown,” said Carlee Williams, a student at Central Michigan. “It’s getting to be a place where you can do more than just shop.”
The grand opening will be an extension of that sense of community, including the other downtown businesses in the event. According to Sleepy Dog Book’s website, this sort of local community engagement event will be more than just a one-time event, with more on the horizon.
Sleepy Dog’s owners already feel the love from the locals.
“The community support, the community outreach – the outpouring of support from the community has been tremendous,” said Justis.