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You don't have to read between the lines to understand why John and Kendall Gilbert and Kendall's mother Barbara Patterson, have opened a book store in DeSoto.


   They'll tell you why - chapter and verse:  The trio perceived a need (there are no other similar stores in DeSoto or the surrounding area), had past experience in book sales, and wanted to put that experience to work in a small town like DeSoto, where the Gilbert family has deep roots.


   "We've chosen a lifestyle and bought into the whole packaged deal," Patterson said.  Books Galore opened at 2116 Rock Road six months ago.  The store has about 20,000 volumes on its shelves, and a much wider inventory available by order through the business's computer.


   "Because our business is two-thirds computer generated, we felt we could locate anywhere," John Gilbert said.  "But, along with our commitment to family, we discovered there were no book stores in DeSoto or nearby communities."


John, 32, a 1984 graduate of DeSoto High School, is the son of Lorene Gilbert and the late Ernest Gilbert, Jefferson County Treasurer from 1951 to 1989.


John met Kendall, also 32, when both were students at Jefferson College in Hillsboro.  While completing his education at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, John began working part-time in a Waldenbooks store just a few doors away from a B. Dalton book store that Patterson, from Springfield, worked in.


     John and Kendall moved to DeSoto three years ago, with John continuing to work in book store management for Waldenbooks.  When the decision was made to open a family book store, Patterson - who felt she was more mobile - made the move to DeSoto.  In addition to working in a trade she enjoys, she also gets to be near her grandchildren - Madeline, 5, and Mitchell, 2.  (Note:  we've since added another little book lover to the mix, Miranda, 7 months).


   In addition to selling books off their shelves, the Gilberts and Patterson offer a computer book search service, and sell their stocked new, used and rare books online.


   At first, the trio considered selling books only over the internet, but then decided they wanted to provide for local customers who might want to come in to purchase a book or sell books to Books Galore directly.


   The store's client base reaches far beyond the boundaries of DeSoto.      "Because our books in stock are listed on the internet, we get calls from all over the world from people who want one of our books or want us to locate a book for them - sometimes in a hurry," John said.  "If we have it we ship it to them, or we find out where they can get it."


   "Recently, we got a call from Harpo Productions (Oprah Winfrey's production company) wanting a book on Janet Jackson, who was scheduled to be a guest on the Oprah Show.  We shipped it out the same day Federal Express, the received it the next morning."


    And where did they get the name "Books Galore"?  Believe it or not, Kendall actually came up with the name after reading the children's book "Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore" by David McPhail, to our children," John said.

By Pat DeClue For the Leader (Originally appeared in the Thursday January 15th, 1998 edition of the Jefferson County News Leader Newspaper)


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