Jan Hedges, owner of Hedghog INK, opened the bookstore in October 2018, with her husband Dick, at 16 S. Main.
“Both Dick and I loved books,” Jan said. “Anytime we traveled we always went to a bookstore. I thought it would be neat to work in one. We had a lot of books at home we needed to do something with.”
“Dick was very supportive of Fort Scott and was sad to see the downtown with hardly any businesses,” she said. “We started talking and, well, instead of someone else doing something, maybe we needed to do something.”
“We started looking at storefronts downtown,” she said. “I talked with the city staff and found that Jared Leek was looking for someone to rent this building.”
“Dick and I had both retired three times, and then we opened this bookstore,” Jan said. “We took the leap.”
And so the business venture began in October 2018.
“Dick died March 11, 2022,” Jan said. “He was the official greeter.”
The Business Has Grown
In the four years since opening, Jan has doubled the size of the store, finding space to rent behind 14 S. Main and a doorway entry to the space opened up.
“The added space we call the Great Room, we rent out, after hours to local groups,” she said. “PEO, the Garden Club, a magazine club have used the space.”
In this space also is a mezzanine type area.
“The reading loft is good for small groups,” she said. “High school, college kids study there, moms and their children sometimes go to read books.”
Coffee and tea are available for free, for those who want to sit a spell.
Currently there are four part-time employees at Hedgehog INK.
Sheryl Bloomfield has worked at the store since its opening and her specialty is decorating the windows at the front of the store.
Lynn Pallaske is in charge of their social media marketing.
Rylan Mason is a high school student and Casey Lewis was a customer who was “here all the time, so we asked her if she’d help us out.”
They all do the work of the store, processing donated books, shelving, working as cashier, etc.
People can call to see if the store has a certain book in stock.
“If we don’t have a book, we can try to order for people,” she said.
Children’s books and history books are the store’s best sellers.
There is a section for local authors in all genres.
The list of local authors: Cathy Werling, Evelyn Kalvelage, Carol Russell, Sally Freeman Jadlow, Joyce Love, Rick Mayhew, Bourbon County Historical Preservation Association Books, Ann Miesner, Martie Wells-Smith, Jane Tucker, Mary Barbara McKay, Gerri Hilger, Kay Large, J. Speer, Rogena McPherson, Nanette Holloway, R.J. Thesman, Sally Smith, Barbara Ramsey, Marvin Ramsey, George Proctor and Ann Joyner.
“We have Writers Wednesday, a group that meets from 1 to 3 p.m. every week and recently hosted a writers seminar,” Jan said.
Story time at the store is starting again after a hiatus because of the COVID 19 Pandemic.
“It’s the first Saturday of each month in the reading loft area,” she said.
Fort Scott has been so generous in donating books to the book store, that during November and December they are not accepting donations.
They have over 30,000 books.
Other Products Are For Sale
In addition, the store sells local products such as goat milk lotions and lavender products, handmade handbags, photo cards, arts and crafts materials, games and puzzles, journals, chocolates and more.
Hours are Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are open by appointment at other times.
Contact the store at 620.670.2752 or [email protected]