Right off of Grand River Avenue in Okemos, you will come across Schuler Books, a locally owned Michigan made book store connected to the Meridian Mall.
Amanda Strong, an MSU alumna, has been the general manager of Schuler Books since 2013.
Strong started working at Schuler books in 2008 after she saw the economy crashing and thought she would work at the bookstore before going to grad school. After about 5 years, Strong became the store’s manager and has continued to hold the title ever since.
Strong said one of her favorite parts about the job is being able to see kids grow up in the book store and eventually ending up as a member of the staff at Schuler Books.
“It’s a mix between the zen of shelving and organizing, the joy of nerding out with a random stranger about our favorite books, and making recommendations,” Strong said.
Schuler Books has also gained a bit of fame on the app TikTok over the past few years.
“It’s been cool to see how bookTok has influenced what people are reading, the trends are so random and interesting to observe,” Strong said.
Some of Strong’s duties include hiring, scheduling, inventory management, customer service, managing about 20-30 booksellers, running events, helping school librarians and teachers fill their libraries and recommending books.
“Basically everything that you could think of happening in a bookstore, including cranky customers and disgusting bathroom situations,” Strong said.
Strong said that the bookstore has a bit of an upper hand as being an independent bookstore compared to businesses such as Barnes and Noble.
“I think being an independent bookseller gives us an advantage. Customers seem to really put their money where their mouth is as far as supporting local business,” Strong said.
Khris Vitols, a Schuler Books employee, has been working at the Schuler Books store since 1996. Vitols said his favorite part of Schuler Books to work in is the used book section of the store.
“I like seeing all the used books that come in and the kinds of things that people come in with,” Vitols said, “You get to see a lot of neat things.”
Lara McLaughlin is one of the newer employees currently working at Schuler Books and has been working there for about a year.
McLaughlin said she used to be a cashier at a grocery store before switching over to Schuler Books.
“I happily took a little pay drop for a better work environment,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said her favorite things about working here are the variety of books and the people at the store.
“I really love all my coworkers and most customers are friendly,” McLaughlin said.