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Retail merchandising has seen colossal changes over the past hundred years. This is the story of the Kyte family business, founded in 1889 in Cornwall, Ontario, by C.W. Kyte, a newspaper pressman by trade but an entrepreneur in his heart.
As Jack Earle approached middle-age, he yearned for independence. Upon learning that the store where he had purchased his high school textbooks was for sale, he saw the ninety-nine-year-old Kyte’s Stationers as his opportunity to save a piece of local history and simultaneously gain his freedom. The author managed this store for her husband Jack, and describes the adventures of surviving in small business, with the unexpected joy and friendships that came from the experience.
“We live in an age of big-box, big chain stores, so I was charmed and delighted by this tale of a small, proud bookstore that paid far more than lip service to the notion of customer service. There are lessons here – history lessons, to be sure, for the people of Cornwall but lessons, too, for the rest of us: about loyalty, about the allure of a tin ceiling, and the beauty of small. Sanctuary indeed.”
-Lawrence Scanlan, Author of A Year of Living Generously
Joan Levy Earle is a Canadian author and artist who has enjoyed a variety of careers. She operated majorette schools in several Canadian cities, inspiring hundreds of young ladies to develop their poise, confidence, and self-esteem through the practice and performance of the skill of baton twirling. In 1988, her husband, Jack Earle, purchased Kyte’s Stationers, a historic stationery-bookstore in Cornwall, Ontario, and together they operated this business for nearly fifteen years.
Joan has written 11 other books and has exhibited her impressionistic paintings in oil and watercolour in dozens of showings throughout Canada.