Independent Bookstore:: River Reader – Lexington, MO

I was struggling for a topic for a blog this week since I don’t have a book review for you all, and a topic just kind of landed in my lap. Today I want to talk to you about a small town bookstore that I used to work for in high school. I want to feature them and stress the importance of shopping locally.

Lexington, MO is a small town in Missouri. It’s a cute historical town with large Victorian style buildings and a battle field historical site that can scare the pants off a grown man at night. I moved to Lexington when I was in 6th grade and I left right after I graduated high school in 2010. This town holds a special place in my heart. I really need to go visit it, I miss it so much.


I had the opportunity to work for River Reader when I was a sophomore in high school. I continued to work there until I left in July 2010 to go to college in Marryville, MO before I moved to Oklahoma that same year, in December, to be with my family and decide what exactly I wanted to do with my life. Ever since then I have been looking for that small-town-bookstore feel. Six years later and I still haven’t found anything like it. There just isn’t anything like that anymore, especially in the big city of OKC.

This is what River Reader has to say about the importance of shopping locally:

Our take: Downtown will be as healthy as the community is willing to support it, regardless of where you believe it’s headed. One thing is certain–change.

Amazingly, after all of our years here, we still have people walk in the door and say, “I had no idea this was here”.


You may not think about it, but we, as do most local businesses, OWN what’s on our shelves. We have to try and second-guess what you might like, order it, shelve it, and pay for it…whether you walk in the door or not. It’s a risk, an investment, sometimes teetering on break-even or loss. We are here religiously five full days a week, rain or shine, hoping you’ll make a stop. We pay for help, lights and phone, and fixing our sometimes-leaky roof. Regardless of what it takes to maintain our business, community confidence and support is what keeps it alive…or not.

Misinformation and armchair opinions swirling around with the leaves outside do nothing more than erode that community confidence, damage opportunity for those of us with ongoing businesses and potentially affect decisions for those considering future investment in town. Please seek facts before speaking.

Bottom line: We do our part to maintain a presence here but our sustainability depends on you.

As the holiday season approaches, please discover, explore and support local independent businesses in Lexington.

When the store first opened in 2004 I knew I had found a very special place. I have always loved to read and the coziness of River Reader was exactly what my young heart was yearning for, and a few years later I was one of the lucky ones to snag at job at the bookstore.


River Reader is housed between the local Library and an abandoned building that I think was once a restaurant. It is only 2000 sqft and features a loft above the store that Pat and Gary rent out to anyone who needs it. The store is jammed pack full of books, gifts for all ages, and they even have a coffee shop. You can’t beat homemade goods. Pat always has fresh brownies, crumb bars, and cakes available for those nurturing a sweet tooth.


River Reader enjoys hosting live Blue-Grass bands, book clubs, author signings, and featuring art from various artists around town. Supporting their community is something they really take to heart.

It’s really important for the community of Lexington to support their local stores. With the demolishing of the bridge between Lexington and Richmond, and the making of a completely new highway that bypasses the town, has really put a damper on the community. Lexington is slowly fading away, and its up to the community to keep it alive and growing.

I have always supported shopping locally, even more so since the the new highway that goes around this gem of a town. Lexington is a gold mine that people are missing out on. There are antique shops, boutiques, and so much history waiting to be discovered. Not only that, but the town is gorgeous.


So please, take a moment to go like their Facebook page and check out their website.  Let them know that Melina sent you ❤




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