Edgewater resident Ken Kennedy never saw himself running a children's bookstore and yet that's what he's been doing—and loving—for the past two weeks.
"This was probably the furthest thing from my to-do list," Kennedy, a former computer salesman, said of his second career.
A few years ago, Kennedy decided he wanted to turn work into something more "fun and interesting." Inspired by a friend who runs a bookstore in Massachusetts, the idea for Edgewater Books was born.
And, it turns out he couldn't be happier than he is now running a children's book store.
"When you go into a kids' bookstore, you can't help but smile," Kennedy said.
On Saturday, Kennedy hopes to share those smiles with the Edgewater community during the the store's grand opening celebration, which will feature a bounce house and activities for children from 10 a.m .to 2 p.m.
"It's just an introduction to the community," Kennedy said. "Take a look at what we've built for you."
The store features a lively story corner where, starting Sept. 10, there will be a Spanish story time for English-speaking children every Tuesday and Thursday. There is also an art room in the back of the store, currently displaying work by children from Deale Elementary. Kennedy plans to rotate out the art display every month to feature artwork from other area elementary schools.
Edgewater Books is also decorated by murals created by young people in the community. The boat scene in the front of the store was created by muralist Nick Davidowski. A second mural in the art room featuring various scenes from children's books was created by Jillian Nolan, daughter of local young adult author Lea Nolan. Kennedy also sells Lea Nolan's books on the shelves.
A large "Cat in the Hat" and colorful displays add to the whimsical feel of the store.
Kennedy hopes the store will be come a destination for people in the community and is planning a host of events over the next couple of months, including a Sandra Boynton release party on Sept. 7 and a Talk Like a Pirate Day—featuring an in-costume guest from London Town—on Sept. 14.
As far as book selection, Edgewater Books caters to ages toddler through young adult. You may find some best sellers and classics on the shelves, but what Kennedy really wants to do is give kids options for something different.
"We'll carry books that are good reads, but we will introduce things that they are not familiar with," he said.
The store's grand opening is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 31. Regular store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Edgewater Books is located at 951 Central Ave.