NewsGreat Falls News


Cassiopeia Books celebrates Independent Bookstore Day

Posted at 8:57 AM, Apr 28, 2024

GREAT FALLS — April 27, 2024 is Independent Bookstore Day, and a wonderful opportunity to shop local in your community. Cassiopeia Books at 606 Central Avenue is one of the last surviving small bookstores in Great Falls.

Its owner, Millie Whalen, was living in New York in 2019 when she heard that the small business was being sold. Instead of retiring like she was planning, she moved out to Great Falls and bought the store.

“I have absolutely no business skills,” Whalen said, “I came in with no business skills, but just a real passion and a love for books and talking to people about books. And so it seemed like it would be a good fit.”

When you go to an independent bookstore, you find people who are passionate for the art of writing and reading. These people can often provide a unique perspective, and that is what Whalen offers her customers.

“An algorithm can sort of tell you what the algorithm thinks your next choice should be,” Whalen said, “But I can give you a couple more options and also talk maybe a little bit more about what you like and introduce you to authors that you might not have considered.”

Unlike larger bookstores, Cassiopeia offers unique deals, such as the book exchange program, where if you bring in a used book, you can trade it in for a dollar off a new book.

“I think it makes it a very interesting collection of what people in Great Falls like to read, what they have read, and what their neighbors might be interested in finding out about,” Whalen said.

Shopping locally also keeps these unique, hole-in-the-wall shops open, which are ultimately what gives cities their unique personalities.

“You're keeping jobs in the community, you're keeping business in the community, and you're keeping a real sense of community,” Whalen said, “And I think every store up and down Central Avenue would agree with me.”

Independent Bookstore Day coincided with Local Yarn Store Day, and stores such as The Farmer’s Daughter and Yarn & Honey celebrated with special promotions as well.