Husband-and-wife team open independent bookshop in the harbor
By Jillian Chandler
There’s a new bookstore in town, and owners Jason and Allyson Howard invite you to explore the shelves inside Invitation Bookshop for the worlds that abound within the pages of their books.
“Every time someone opens a book, there is a conversation that happens between the author and the reader. It’s a bit of wonder and magic, but it’s also a very tangible and real way to better our own lives and the lives of others,” shares Allyson. “We want to be a positive presence in the community, and we hope we can achieve that by creating a space where people can reach out to others or improve their own lives through stories and ideas.”
The couple recognizes that there are countless options for purchasing books and seek to provide the community with more than just a bookstore; they hope to be a haven that people value for the benefit they bring to the community, whether it be through their book recommendations, author talks, children’s story time or supporting local schools and nonprofits. “One of the joys of independent bookstores as a collective is that we all have our own unique personality,” smiles Allyson. “When people think about their favorite bookstores, they don’t remember what they purchased there, they remember the experience and feeling they had while in the store.”
“Ultimately, our store is about community, and if we are successful, it is because of the people in our community,” says Jason.
Opened on September 4, Allyson and Jason are already witnessing how rewarding their new venture is, from the joy their customers have shared with them when they come into the store, to the ease they see wash over people as they browse, to the conversations they have about books every day. “More than anything else, though, it’s when a child walks into our children’s section and their eyes light up, or when they leave the store without a bag so they can start reading in the car on the way home,” shares Allyson. “I can still remember vividly the bookstores of my childhood, and I’m certain those places played a part in making me the reader I am today. To be able to be part of fostering that same love for books in others, and maybe even being the place for their bookstore memories, is the best reward.”
The Howards have called Gig Harbor home for the past three years, though the decision to relocate was in the works more than a decade ago. With a longtime love of the Pacific Northwest, combined with family moving to the harbor, they both agree that there was no question they would ultimately make Gig Harbor their home. With four children, three still living at home, the Howard family keeps busy year-round through their involvement in community sports and school activities, contributing to these organizations however they can.
“Living in Gig Harbor has been such a gift to us and our family, and Invitation Bookshop is our love letter to this community,” says Allyson. “We are so grateful for every person who walks through our door, for the friendships we are making and the community that we are becoming more and more a part of.”
With the holiday season fast approaching, Invitation Bookshop is the perfect stop to shop for unique gifts while also supporting local. In addition to their vast selection of books, you can find puzzles and games, stationary, reading accessories and other bookish novelties.
Allyson and Jason invite you to browse the bookshop Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. You can also visit their webstore, which can be found online at InvitationBookshop.com, for ordering and in-store pickup.
There’s no time like the present to get lost in a new book, and Invitation Bookshop is ready to help you discover your new favorite!
5125 Olympic Drive, Suite 104
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335