Francis Howell Central graduate Kayla Schneider, 21, opened her bookstore, Sage Books, on June 15. Schneider is currently attending St. Charles Community College and plans to attend University to major in French and Computer Science.
Schneider opened Sage Books with the help of a family inheritance. Located on North 2nd Street in Frenchtown, Sage Books also carries incense, fair trade bags and jewelery. Schneider hopes to eventually expand and sell movies and video games at Sage Books.
Schneider is currently running Sage Books by herself, but hopes to get her friends to help out when school starts back up.
St. Charles Patch: How did you get to open your own bookstore so young?
Kayla Schneider: It's always something I wanted to do, but I assumed it was going to be later on. My parents own the Bike Stop Cafe and heard about this place. We knew the people that owned it and it was kind of one of those opportunity things. It was a great opportunity, I could either take it or leave it, so I just decided to go for it.
St. Charles Patch: Owning a bookstore is completely different than computer science--is this just something you wanted to do on the side?
Kayla Schneider: Computer science is something I'd like to do as a career, or part of a career, but it's such a broad thing and there's so many different things I can do with it. But reading and books are things that I've always been passionate about. So when it came to opening a store, that's something that I've always wanted to do because that's what I enjoy, but the computer science is something I'd like to do as a side job, I guess.
St. Charles Patch: What do you want to do as your career after you graduate?
Kayla Schneider: I kind of feel like it's up in the air. I've given myself multiple options, because I know a lot of people have chosen one thing and then in 10 or 20 years either no longer want to do it or end up out of the industry. So I kind of want to do a little bit of everything: I want to have the store and be successful, and possibly be a programmer on the side because programmers can work from home a lot of the time. My mom is still convinced I'm going to be a teacher. I'm just going to finish school and see where it leads me.
St. Charles Patch: How has business been so far?
Kayla Schneider: It's been slow, but that's to be expected because a lot of people don't know that I'm here. I'm still in the process of expanding and adding new merchandise and marketing. Everyone that has come in likes it and has found something they like to read.
St. Charles Patch: Where do you get all the books from?
Kayla Schneider: Different places. The new ones come directly from the publishers, but then there's book wholesale websites and the rest are donations or bought at flea markets.
St. Charles Patch: Walk me through the process of opening your own business.
Kayla Schneider: Oh, my gosh. There were so many different things that I never would have thought I would have to do. It's complicated. The paperwork is awful. If someone doesn't like to do paperwork, I would never suggest opening a business. It's just terrible.
But there are some key things like finding a place is the first part, deciding on a name, paperwork, signing tax documents, things like that, and then on to figuring out exactly what product to order and what products will be good for the area. It was long. I actually started this in January. We got it open in June, but there's still so much that I want to add.
St. Charles Patch: What types of books do you like to read?
Kayla Schneider: I'm a fantasy reader. I prefer fantasy novels and historical fiction. I have a very specific type of book that I like, but I love books in general.
St. Charles Patch: What do you like about being located in St. Charles?
Kayla Schneider: I love this area. I didn't know anything about it until my parents opened up the Bike Stop Cafe. I got to know the area and the kind of places that are around here, and I really like it. It's more of a neighborhood. The people around here actually help each other out and they are connected. Whereas I grew up in a suburb of St. Peters and I don't even know my neighbor's name. Here everyone's close and everyone's connected and there's a lot of neat people down here. It's different.