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The Big Idea Bookstore celebrates grand opening of new cafe in Bloomfield, 11th anniversary

The Big Idea Bookstore is celebrating the grand opening of its new café in Bloomfield as it also celebrates 11 years in business.  And for the rest of the week the store will be offering 11% off new and used books to commemorate the occasion.

After relocating to a more prominent location on Liberty Avenue last year, the worker-owned cooperative, which specializes in radical literature, launched a Kickstarter campaign in February with hopes to start a new café. The campaign was successful and surpassed its goal, raising over $3,000, enough for café equipment and a hot water system, as well as costs related to permits, inspections, and various other start-up goods.

Talon Smith, a Big Idea volunteer/worker-owner, says her vision for the café was to be a comfortable place for casual reading or working, able to suit the needs of any patron.

“If that means not buying anything and just hanging out and spending time and talking to us, that's fine,“ she says. “We're ok with that.”

For volunteer Brian Werner, that freedom to ask questions and explore various subjects is what originally attracted him to The Big Idea.

“I've always liked being here because it's just a safe place to explore ideas in literature that for the most part you don't often have access to,” he says, a place to demystify various ideologies, like anarchism, that can seem alienating or unapproachable to some people.

The café offers locally-roasted, fair trade coffee from Building New Hope; vegan wraps, salads, and sandwiches from Strictly Business and the Greek Gourmet; baked goods from My Goodies Bakery; and sodas from the Natrona Bottling Company.

In addition to the new café, Big Idea’s new storefront is more than double in size than the previous location. Now at over 1600 square-feet, the bookstore has been able to host a variety of programming, from reading groups and book signings, to yoga and bicycle safety classes.

On May 20th, Judith Redline Coopey will read from her latest novel, Waterproof: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood.

Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Talon Smith, Brian Werner, Lars Peterson
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