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Old Town Fort Collins’ Biggest Bookstore

Old Firehouse books carries all kinds of books, including the new craze: adult coloring books. Photo: Krystal Tubbs
A woman takes refuge from the chilly morning air by checking out the shelves of Old Firehouse Books Photo by Krystal Tubbs

When you’re looking for a bookstore in Old Town Fort Collins, look no further than Old Firehouse Books. This independent bookstore is focused on improving the community.

Located in a historic firehouse building, Old Firehouse carries new and used books, local authors on consignment, and can even special order things that they don’t have on their shelves. Genres include everything from poetry to first reader books, literary t-shirts, cards, stationary, nerdy coffee cups, and more.

Walking into the store you get a sense of the people who work here, bright colors are painted on the walls, posters of famous book covers are hanging from every corner, and a rack full of bookmarks greets you as you step through the threshold.

The people working behind the scenes are busy taking in new books from customers, setting up displays, and placing his or her book of the month on a special shelf reserved for employees. The store has the feel of a family library, with people browsing the shelves and coming up to the wide counter to buy their next read.

The children’s section at Old Firehouse Books holds an array of interesting features that will catch their eyes. Photo: Krystal Tubbs

“I love the smell,” exclaims one young woman who enters the store, apparently a first timer  into this local Fort Collins secret.

But Old Firehouse Books is more than just a store; they are focused on engaging with the community by offering something for everyone.

The bookstore often teams up with the Poudre Valley Libraries in order to help host events, as well as donate books to them. One large event was the Neil Gaiman signing that happened on Feb. 6, 2015. The event, which was one of Gaiman’s last signing events, the store partnered with the library so that a percentage of all books sold that day went to the library.

Old Firehouse doesn’t just partner with the library. On Feb. 23, 2016, they worked with Natasha Wing, a local children’s book author, to do a story time reading of her book, “The Night Before the New Pet,” and take donations for the Larimer Humane Society.

Kelsey Myers, the manager and event coordinator for Old Firehouse Books, and alumna of Colorado State University, has worked at the bookstore nearly the entire time she was completing her undergrad, and continued to a full time position after graduating. Myers is in charge of bringing authors to the store for events and signings.

“Being an independent business keeps Fort Collins Old Town interesting.” — Kelsey Myers, manager and event coordinator for Old Firehouse Books

According to Myers, the store makes an effort to work with local authors to set up signings and to make sure that their books are carried in the store. Currently there are about 60 local authors’ books on the shelves in Old Firehouse.

Beyond this the bookstore offers weekly readings for children, and special events which can include the kids being able to meet their favorite literary characters. In December, children were able to come in and meet the Grinch in store. Wing also comes to the store monthly to read a book from her “Night Before” series.

Old Firehouse books carries all kinds of books, including the new craze: adult coloring books. Photo: Krystal Tubbs

Not everything is for the little ones, though, Old Firehose also offers eight book clubs, hosted by current or former employees of the store. Adults and teens can join clubs that fit their taste in books. Currently Old Firehouse offers even different book clubs ranging from the Swords and Lasers, a sci-fi and fantasy based club, to the F*@#’d Up Book Club, where you will be exposed to things that make you do a double take.

The store tries to keep book club books affordable for the community by offering at 20 percent discount on the current book being read by the club.

If you thought it couldn’t get better, there is more, “We donate to schools a lot, we give discounts to local Poudre School District schools, [and] we give discounts to teachers who are buying books in bulk.”

What does all this add up to? A lot, says, Myers.

“Being an independent bookstore adds to the community,” Myers says, “it increases the property values for an entire town if they have an independent bookstore. Being an independent business keeps Fort Collins Old Town interesting.”

Old Firehouse Books is located at 232 Walnut Street.

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