The St. Louis Entrepreneurs Who Opened in the Pandemic

David Boykin and his wife Christine turned pandemic boredom into their new business: Frenchtown Records, Antiques & More.
David Boykin and his wife Christine turned pandemic boredom into their new business: Frenchtown Records, Antiques & More. PHUONG BUI

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The Webster Groves home of Betty’s Books has graphic books and fun spaces for readers of all levels and interests. - MADYSON DIXON
MADYSON DIXON
The Webster Groves home of Betty’s Books has graphic books and fun spaces for readers of all levels and interests.

Sitting at home during the pandemic with her kids running around her, Betty Bayer found herself considering her plans for the future. She had been a librarian for years, but the idea of opening a bookstore had always been in the back of her mind.

"This [the pandemic] made me prioritize my goals and see what's most important to me," Bayer says.

With unexpected free time on her hands, she decided to take a class from the American Booksellers Association geared toward opening a store. Bayer says the class helped change what had been a longtime dream into a reality. Soon, she was figuring out concrete steps, securing a space at the edge of the Old Orchard section of Webster Groves and ordering her first shipments of books. Her concept was focused on creating a family-friendly space with a specialty in graphic books for readers of all levels and interests.

Betty's Books opened on October 23. Despite the ongoing limitations of the pandemic, the first weekend was such a success that Bayer had to replenish her stock. She says she caught people in the shopping mood that hit a sweet spot before Halloween and with Christmas gift buying in the not-too-distant future. The store sits in stylish digs at 10 Summit Avenue, a mix of dark walls and white shelves filled with the brightly colored covers of classic comics, newly released series and fan-favorite graphic novels. In a corner, kids will find a fort-like reading nook with an open wooden roof below neon storm clouds.

Betty's has already begun to host artist appearances (St. Louis' own Lauren Marx was a recent guest), and Bayer has plans for expanded events in the future. Her shop has a section selling the work of local creators, helping others in the area chase their dreams, too.

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