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story.lead_photo.caption FILE: Marty Wilson, of the Holts Summit Community Empowerment Foundation, sorts donated books in 2019 at the future home of Retold Tales. Photo by Helen Wilbers / News Tribune.

At Holts Summit's Board of Alderman meeting a few weeks ago, Holts Summit Community Empowerment Foundation organizer Marty Wilson mentioned Retold Tales bookstore would be moving out of its space at Summit Plaza and making space for another business.

Those plans are now becoming a reality.

The Holts Summit Community Empowerment Foundation began in late 2019 to raise money for a local library. What started as a book sale soon became an entire store.

For the past 2 years, Wilson has been responding to the success of the sale, taking in a steady stream of new books every week — but with new developments in the works, he said it's time to move on.

"It became a very large store, and it just keeps getting bigger," he said, adding 5,000 new books were donated just last weekend.

There have been a few things that have lined up for the move to happen. For one, the mission of the Holts Summit Community Empowerment Foundation has become a success thanks in part to the bookstore's presence.

Retold Tales created a launching point for the Holts Summit Public Library, and the library is now looking at expanding its hours come January, going from 22 to 45 hours a week, and open every day but Sunday, as opposed to only five days a week. Wilson hopes they can introduce even more programming as the pandemic improves over time.

"Once COVID-19 is over, we'll see a big difference as the library becomes more active," Wilson said.

He also said although the income from book sales has paid the bills, making room for another business will uplift the town's economy, especially during COVID-19.

With the library's growth, he said he is confident in making a transition with the bookstore. For now, it will stay open until the spring, at which point other shops will be looking at buying the remaining books.

"It needs to go to somebody that not only cares about it, but will almost have the building for it as well," Wilson said.

As a last hoorah for the shop, there will be a Christmas tree placed across from the library and lit during the holiday season. "It's going to be huge," Wilson said.

Callabyte Technology and the Holts Summit Community Betterment Association will be involved with the installation and lighting of the tree. Wilson said it will not be a part of the annual Holts Summit Christmas Parade, but it can be a festive stop at Summit Plaza for visitors. They plan to light the tree the day after Thanksgiving.

With all of these new changes, Wilson said it goes back to the mission of pulling Holts Summit more into the 21st century.

"There's been a lot of progress happening in the last 10 years," Wilson said. "(The bookstore's move) will help pay some city taxes, and with COVID-19, having money coming in will help."

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