When Nicole Selhorst wanted to feed more hungry customers during the cold winter months last year, she didn't have the space to seat all of them at Red Canoe Bookstore Cafe.
But now she's got the space -- and new menu items and products -- to keep them longer at her Lauraville business. After a renovation, that is now in its final stages, Selhorst will seat twice as many patrons at the Lauraville business.
Selhorst added 20 more seats by merging the bookstore and cafe areas that had been in two adjacent rowhomes so seats are spread throughout the space. Patrons now also get more food options, with pizza and grilled sandwiches. Red Canoe now has a fireplace on the first floor to keep customers cozy inside during winter.
In an appeal to families, the bookstore and cafe now sells more childrens toys. An expanded book selection includes more title that appeal to kids and young adults.
Selhorst has already been building up a fan base among families. In conjunction with Loyola University Maryland's radio station WLOY, Red Canoe hosts regular events that get children to read and write stories.
"We are able to really build up a community of families," Selhorst says. "I see us growing."
The bookstore is among a growing crop of small businesses that have sprouted in the Hamilton/Lauraville area. Selhorst praises the neighborhood's diversity and the fact that it has drawn a number of artists, authors and activists intent on making the area a better place to live.
"It's a wonderful, growing community," Selhorst says.
Source: Nicole Selhorst, Red Canoe Bookstore Cafe
Writer: Julekha Dash