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@ Work: Undercover Books

Dec. 11, 2005 – Undercover Books in Gallows Bay is a place where St. Croix book lovers like to shop and maybe talk a little about books they like.
The reason this works so well is probably because owner Kathy Bennett is a book lover too.
"I read all the time," she says.
She started Undercover Books from scratch six years ago. Although, Trader Bob's was located at the same location, across from the Gallows Bay Post office, the owner had died a couple years previous to Bennett opening her store and she did not purchase his business. She says her store is very different.
"I want to keep the focus on being a book store," Bennett says.
The roomy store is dominated by books. There a few miscellaneous items like CDs by local artists and greeting cards, but mostly it's just books. However, Bennett is aware of the trend on the mainland to combine books stores and coffee shops.
The coffee shop next to Undercover Books, which used to be called Morning Glory, is presently closed and scheduled to open under a new owner and new name – Anna's Café. Bennett has been having discussions with the new owner about "breaking through" and making a door that connects both businesses.
"We can work as a team," she says.
Her love of books and her relationship with customers who feel the same way have made Undercover Books the site for many of St. Croix's literary and artistic events. Last month the store featured an exhibit by St. Croix artist Jan Aiken.
In 2004, when St. Croix celebrated Alexander Hamilton's 250th birthday, it was Undercover Books that hosted a book signing by nationally-known authors.(See "Writers on Hamilton's Roots Find an Eager Audience ").
At the end of this month the book store will be hosting a signing by William G. Borchert, author of The Lois Wilson Story: When Love is Not Enough. This is a biography of the woman who helped found Alcoholics Anonymous. Bennett says she has read it and it is a very good book.
Burchett will be at Undercover Books from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 30.
Bennett had no retail experience before opening Undercover Books. She moved to St. Croix in 1981. Before that she worked as a stockbroker and a paralegal in the Bronx. She said being a bookseller is a much more satisfying profession.

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