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I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T Cover to Cover Bookstore with Melia Wolf

“Kind, strong, advocate, generous, and thoughtful” are just a few words used by her staff to describe Melia Wolf, owner of Cover to Cover. Cover to Cover, an I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T bookstore located in Upper Arlington on a quiet street, is bursting with Children’s books. I recently had the opportunity of chatting with Melia about what it’s like to be a woman-owned business, the history of Cover to Cover, the challenges of owning a business during COVID, and plans for the future.

Melia Wolf bought the new space in 2017 and reopened Cover to Cover in 2018. Founder Sally Oddi had run the store in Clintonville for 35+ years. Melia referred to Cover to Cover as a “living thing, and its own entity.” Melia, who had visited Cover to Cover when purchasing books for her two sons, came to know Sally. When Sally was looking to retire and hand off this special store, she placed an ad in the paper. “It was actually my husband who told me that Cover to Cover was for sale,” recalls Melia. “I thought it over for a couple of days and decided to give the interview a go,” said Melia. To summarize the history of Cover to Cover in such a small paragraph with all the odds and ends is not something I’m going to attempt to do, for fear I won’t give it justice. However, I can tell you that Melia got the go-ahead from Sally and thus started the vast amounts of research and classes needed to figure out how to run a successful book store (there is a handbook, literally).

Cover to Cover’s sense of community is felt immediately when you walk in. It’s warm and welcoming. Partly because of the quaint space itself, it can’t be undersold how polite and kind the staff are to those walking in. It was easy to see this independent bookstore (one of the last in Columbus) run by a cohesive team and truly care about bringing literature to the neighborhood. Staff members Brian Loar and Dana Grimes round out the Cover to Cover family. Together they champion children in the community.

Cover to Cover is all about empowering children. “Lift as we climb,” Melia told us. When you have a mission statement like that, the local community will support you.

2020 was hard on small businesses in general, but bookstores had to find their pivot’s especially. Cover to Cover’s online business picked up big time (thanks to Brian and his witty technology self) and helped fill some of those gaps. Author visits are harder during covid for sure, but being something that was a really cool experience before 2020, Melia has hopes they’ll return again once they can safely arrange them.

Melia knows that owning a small independent bookstore isn’t something you thrive off of- however, it feeds the soul. “You don’t do it for the money,” stated Melia. An independent bookstore needs the community to survive. Shopping local, taking the time to support small business owners, is what will help keep them afloat.

I’d like to thank Melia, her staff, for allowing us to come in and shed some light on such a beautiful gem, Cover to Cover.

All photos are taken by Emma Parker Photography.

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