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Cindy Black’s love of literature, music fills the shelves of Consigned Books

Over the years, Cindy Black has amassed a significant collection of reading material.

“My daddy would go to random places and buy me boxes of books, and I’d just store them,” Black said.

It was a conversation about her collection between Black and her daughter that eventually led Black, an Argillite resident, to open Consigned Books in April 2015.

“I’ve done a little bit of everything, but having a bookstore is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Black said. “It’s always been in the back of my mind.”

For a time, Consigned Books was located in Ashland’s Pendleton Art Center, but after AK Steel’s Ashland Works plant closed, Black decided to switch gears and focus solely on her e-commerce website.

Black said Sam Heighton, of Ironton aLive, helped her find her current space, 221 S. Third Street in Ironton. Consigned Books opened its storefront on Black Friday 2016. “We took off with a boom,” she said. “Ironton is really trying to revitalize. There are new shops: Cardinal Wishes, Gypsy Hearts, Decadence, the Chat Room Cafe, Dick’s Music … Of course, Unger’s has been a monumental stone in the community … There’s also plans to bring in big businesses to add more jobs.”

Consigned Books’ shelves are filled with current and collectible/rare titles, as well as audiobooks, vinyl records — 45s, 78s and 33s — CDs, DVDs and even sheet music. The items are from Black’s own collection, estates that Black has done as well as individuals who have decided to consign.

“I have over 100 consignors,” Black said. “People are downsizing, seniors are cleaning out their closets, and they don’t want these things thrown out. They’d rather them be put to good use.”

At this point in time, Black said she has so much inventory that she’s on the hunt for a warehouse.

“I have books everywhere,” she said. “There’s probably 25,000 books that are waiting to be put on a shelf,” she said. “It’s kind of a block right now.”

Those interested in consigning must call or email Black first. You’ll be added to a waiting list and sent instructions on how to proceed. Consignors receive 40 percent of the sale, and dividends are paid quarterly.

“People don’t realize how much work is involved in getting things ready for sale,” Black said. “Items need to be in good or better condition and clean.”

To price items, Black uses the Goldmine Grading Standard and a lot of research. Most items start at $3 and go up.

“People can save here,” Black said. “A lot of my prices are less than half the retail price.”

More importantly, each sale not only helps the local business and consignors, but also the city itself.

“Neighbor buying from neighbor, thus neighbor helping neighbor… that’s my slogan,” Black said.  “I want to be a blessing because I know if I’m a blessing to others, God will bless me. That’s how it works. He gets all the glory … We’ve seen some hard times economically in the Tri-State area. This city needs sales tax, and when people buy here, I pay my sales tax, and it helps. So when people shop at my store, they’re helping their community.”

In addition to the store, customers can make purchases on Consigned Books’ website, and if something isn’t listed, Black said just get in touch with her. “Not all of our inventory is on there,” she said. “Email or call if you’re looking for something in particular. I’m happy to help.”

Black hopes that having a Consigned Books storefront will encourage area youth to read.

“We’ve seen the dumbing down of our children, and I’m hoping I can be an encouragement because there’s so much more to learn besides video games,” Black said. “The Lord tells us, ‘Without knowledge, my people perish.’ We need to get our kids reading again. There’s so much to learn, and it just opens up the imagination. It helps them to be                  more successful.”

As a way to draw in the community, Consigned Books hosts a Poetry Night every Friday.

“You can read your own work or someone else’s,” Black said. “It doesn’t matter. We just want to have fun.”

The store also has two book signings a month, on the second and fourth Saturdays from 2-4 p.m. Black is happy to stock books from local authors, too. “I want to be a platform for them,” Black said. Local authors that sell their work in the store receive 70 percent from sales.

Local artists are also invited to bring their work. Currently, Consigned Books features pieces from Jane Bennett, Pati Payne, Tami’s Simple Creations and Lisa Webb.

“Anybody else that wants to bring art is welcome to,” Black said. “I just take a 20 percent commission.”

Another aspect of customer service Black provides is local delivery for $2.

“So, if there’s a book someone needs and they can’t make it here, I’ll take it to them if it’s within 15 miles of the store,” she said. Black does gift wrapping for $2 as well and is working on an email Christmas catalog.

As Black prepares to celebrate Consigned Books’ one-year anniversary in Ironton, she’s also thinking about the future. “I’m looking at opening up satellite stores in Portsmouth and maybe Gallipolis,” she said. “I want to expand for sure.”

Consigned Books is located at 221 S. Third Street in Ironton. Current business hours are: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 740.237.4063 or visit consignedbooks.com or facebook.com/pg/consignedbooks.