Off the Beaten Path bookstore turned over a new leaf earlier this month after longtime owners sold the popular downtown bookstore, cafe and bakery to Danielle and Mike Skov.
The Skovs took over the operation on July 13 from Ron and Sue Krall, who bought the bookstore in 2008 from Dick and Leslie Ryan.
“The main thing was knowing that Danielle and Mike would be wonderful stewards of the community treasure that the bookstore has become,” said Ron Krall. “We weren’t really looking for someone to sell the bookstore to, but when Danielle and Mike came forward and expressed their interest to us, we felt like the nearly 30-year investment that the Ryans and us had done in the bookstore was going to be in good hands.
The history of the bookstore dates back to the late 1980s when it was known as Boomtown Books and located in the 900 block of Lincoln Avenue.
Dick Ryan and his wife Leslie bought Boomtown after Dick saw a classified ad advertising the sale in the Wall Street Journal. After the purchase, the couple moved from Los Angles to Steamboat Springs, where they had purchased a house, and began running the store.
A year later, they moved Boomtown to a new location near Lincoln Avenue on Seventh Street and changed its name to Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. They also borrowed a west coast concept by incorporating a cafe into the bookstore.
The Skovs are the third owners since this transition, and they look forward to continuing the traditions the bookstore has brought to Steamboat Springs.
“We feel it’s really important for our city to have a bookstore, especially an independent bookstore,” Danielle said. “We believe that (a bookstore) is a key part of a city and especially our city. Being part of that is really fun.
The Skovs moved to Steamboat Springs 24 years ago and began teaching at Lowell Whiteman Elementary School, now known as Emerald Mountain School. Danielle has also taught at Steamboat Springs Middle School and most recently at Soda Creek Elementary.
She also worked as an English teacher in Chicago and returned to school to earn her master’s degree. She said after moving to Steamboat Springs, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Coffeehouse and Bakery Café became a regular stop for her, Mike and their three children – Lark, 24, Mac, 22 and Posey, 18 .
Danielle and Mike approached the Kralls a while ago and told them that if they ever decided to sell the store, they were interested. For Danielle, the timing of this opportunity couldn’t have been better.
“I love teaching,” Danielle said. “But I was ready to do something else and for the next part of my life – the next 10-20 years. It seems like a good place to be.
At this point, the plan is to get a feel for how things work at the store and get acquainted with the staff of 20, many of whom have worked at the bookstore for years.
“I’m just trying to learn for the first few months. Then maybe when it gets a little slower in the fall we can brainstorm and as a team discuss any changes we might want to make,” Danielle said. “I feel so lucky that our staff has remained the same.
The store is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
Inside, visitors will find a full-service coffee bar and bakery, as well as books, maps, and gifts. The books are available in print, digital, and audio, and if the store doesn’t have it in stock, items can be special-ordered.
Danielle said it’s also a great place to find a unique gift. Of course, the store will continue to offer many welcoming smiles and great personal service, a tradition that dates back to the original owners.
“We are very proud and happy to see that Off the Beaten Path is still such an important part of the community,” Krall said. “We have always seen it as more than a business, but rather as one of the cornerstones of the community.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.