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Sisters make big move, reopen Island Book Nook

By Staff | Nov 26, 2008

Melanie Wiford enjoys reading. Although murder mysteries are her favorite, she also enjoys other genres of books, magazines, newspapers and even the Internet.

So when one day she was surfing the World Wife Web from her home in Anna, Ohio she happened across the Island Reporter’s home page, she clicked on the Lee County Shopper link and read a few of the classified ads. There, she stumbled upon an ad describing a business that was for sale on Sanibel — The Island Book Nook.

After reading the ad, she and her sister, Jan Wiford, decided that the opportunity sounded good enough to make a phone call.

That phone call led to a visit to the island back in August.

“We were looking for a reason to move to Florida, but I had to find work down here first,” said Melanie, a former K-12 grade guidance counselor. “We both love to read. I had been in education for many years. So this seemed like a perfect fit for us.”

“When we came down here and looked through the window (of the store), there was no doubt we were going to buy it,” added Jan, a retired purchasing agent.

The siblings returned to Ohio, packed up their belongings and made the big move south to the Sunshine State, settling in Fort Myers. The Wiford’s officially reopened the Island Book Nook — which had been closed since the passing of former owner Joan Simonds earlier this year — on Oct. 10.

“It was truly a turn-key business,” said Melanie. “We came in and cleaned the windows and did a little dusting.”

The store, located in the Palm Ridge Place Shopping Center, is a paperback exchange, boasting more than 10,000 new and used titles including fiction and non-fiction novels, cookbooks, guide books, a children’s section, maps, postcards and more. Island readers may purchase the discounted books or can opt to bring in their own used titles in exchange for store credit.

“Since we opened up, we’ve met a lot of nice people,” said Melanie, who operates the store along with Jan and their 3-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, Shiloh. “They’ve told us some great stories about Joan (Simonds) and their experiences at the store. Everybody’s given us a warm welcome.”

“I’ve enjoyed finding some of my favorite books that I used to own,” said Jan, who explained that prior to moving she had to sell and give away many of her own books. “And I really like the relaxed atmosphere of the islands. We’ve felt so welcomed. People who’ve been coming in all tell us that they’ll be back again.”

The Island Book Nook, 2330 Palm Ridge Road, is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Beginning on Jan. 1, they will also be open on Saturdays. Call 472-6777 for more information.