Edmond’s Best of Books changes ownership

From right, Joe, Nan and daughter Elena Hight transition into their new venture at Best of Books in Edmond. (Shannon Cornman)

From right, Joe, Nan and daughter Elena Hight transition into their new venture at Best of Books in Edmond. (Shannon Cornman)

A native Oklahoma family purchased an independent bookstore in Edmond this month.

The Hight family bought the Best of Books store and corporation from longtime owners Julie Hovis and Kathy Kinasewitz on Oct. 1.

Joe Hight, president of Best of Books, Inc., said buying and operating the store not only created an opportunity to return home to Oklahoma from Colorado but also bring his family together in a unique business venture.

Hovis and Kinasewitz, who had owned the bookstore for nearly 23 years, were looking to retire and had been looking for buyers for the past 2 1/2 years.  Kinasewitz said the Hights were ideal choices for new ownership for the store.

“They are committed to the same high-quality service our customers expect,” Kinasewitz said in a statement.  “Julie and I are thrilled to have new owners bringing new energy to the store.”

Hight, the company’s president, has returned to Oklahoma after serving as editor of The Gazette in Colorado Springs, where he led the news organization to winning a Pulitzer Prize this year.

Nan Hight, Joe’s wife and the secretary of the company, is a retired band director with more than 30 years of private and public education experience.

Joe and Nan said their daughter, Elena, will use her background in theater arts and elementary education to help the bookstore connect to a younger audience as the company’s vice president and general manager.

Hight also said his wife and daughter’s experiences in the arts and education, coupled with his background and connections in print journalism, would help them serve and expand their already-loyal customer base.

Nan and Elena said they would continue to keep Best of Books a “community source” for Edmond residents, especially local educators.

Hight said that while customer service will always be the highest priority for the store, he and his family are planning new ways to reach out to customers.

He admitted that buying an independent bookstore was a unique challenge, but said he and his family “love the challenge.”

Hight said that they initially saw not only a successful independent bookstore but also one with ample opportunities for business and brand growth.

“The bookstore is the foundation of what we do,” said Hight, adding that future business outreach plans include an expanded online presence and the use of social media.

One particular expansion is the creation of BOB, an anagram of Best of Books and an online persona for the bookstore’s Twitter account, @bestofbooksok.

Hight said he and Nan desired to return home earlier this year after nearly two years in Colorado and that Elena was coming back to Oklahoma after a two-year stint of teaching elementary school in Honduras. He said Best of Books was up for sale at the time and the three of them saw a chance to come home and begin a new business venture together.

“It was the perfect time,” Hight said.

Best of Books is located at 1313 E. Danforth Road in Edmond’s Kickingbird Square shopping center and is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1 -5 p.m. Sunday.  For more information, call 340-9202 or visit bestofbooksedmond.com.

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