O'Fallon Bookstore Owner Proves the Early Bird Gets the Worm

The owner of Rose's Bookhouse dishes on owning a decades-old bookstore at the ripe old age of 22, losing 300 pounds, meeting her husband online and more.

When Wendy Drew got a job at a local bookstore, the 19-year-old had no idea that less than three years later, she’d buy the store.

was first opened in 1980 by then-owner Rose Rutter. After Rose retired in the mid-1990s, her son Curt took over.

“I started working for him in mid-1998,” Drew said. “I, with a friend and business partner, bought the store and took over in January of 2001, when I was 22.”

A little more than two years later, Drew said her business partner passed away, leaving her as the sole owner of the store at just 24 years old.

“I didn't plan on owning a bookstore, but I've always loved reading and helping others find great books so when the opportunity came up for me to buy the business I couldn't resist,” Drew said.

The Business End: About the Store

Roses Bookhouse is a new and used bookstore located at 8935 Veterans Memorial Pkwy. It was voted the number one bookstore in O’Fallon by the Flash Flyer Readers in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

“We carry mostly used books, but our new stock is growing,” Drew said. “We offer a trade-in and save discount program.”

She said the store specializes in romance, but carries all genres, “from kids, to commercial fiction, to sci-fi and fantasy, to literary fiction and non-fiction.”

Drew has started a website for the store, which she updates herself, as well as a Facebook page.

“And our new newsletter will start in January,” she said. “We’re also a member of the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance.”

Special Events at Rose’s Bookhouse

“We are also expanding our event programs to include several multi-author book signings throughout the year,” Drew said.

She said that on Feb. 11 from 12 to 2 p.m., New York Times bestselling authors Anya Bast, Patricia Rice, and bestsellng author Donna Grant will be in the store to sign books for their fans.

And on March 24, she’s expecting New York Times bestselling authors Shannon K. Butcher and Alexandra Ivy, along with bestselling author Jade Lee.

“We will most likely add another author or two to each event,” she added.

Drew said that on Dec. 3, she and her staff held their Naughty & Nice event, a “girls' night meets erotic romance book signing.”

“(We had) over 50 people attending on Dec. 3,” Drew said. “The event was ticketed and sold out.”

Rose’s Bookhouse also took part in the in conjunction with the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance. Drew and her staff wrapped the books they collected to donate at the store on Saturday. Customers were also invited to wrap donated books.

Get to Know Wendy Drew

After struggling with her weight for several years, Drew said she had gastric bypass surgery five years ago.

“I’ve lost 300 pounds,” she said.

She said that nearly a year after her surgery, she posted a profile on an online dating site.

“I met my husband online through Match.com, six weeks after posting my profile,” she said. “Five months later, we were engaged.”

The couple has been married just more than two years, and she said her husband is a Unix/Linux engineer. While the couple has no children, Drew said they have “three furry cat babies.”

In her spare time, Drew plays the flute with the Northwinds Concert Band in Florissant.

She said she also writes romance and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She said that while she likes to read a variety of books, she especially enjoys reading romance.

“Whether it's paranormal, erotic, contemporary, suspense, comedic or historical there just seems to be something magical about romance,” reads her bio on the Rose’s Bookhouse website. “After all, who wouldn't want a happily-ever-after?”

For more information about Rose’s Bookhouse, visit the store’s website, or call 636-272-5857.

Would you like to see your business featured in this column? Email Patch reporter and social media miner, Angela Atkinson at angela.atkinson@patch.com to arrange for an interview.

DVFluhr December 29, 2011 at 05:15 PM
The BEST book store around with the best staff!!!


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