‘Like Christmas every day’: Fleur Fine Books expanding store, warehouse – Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES — Dale LaFleur is like a kid in a candy shop. His sweet of choice — books.
LaFleur said he owns the only operating bookstore in Mid-County, Fleur Fine Books, and what started as a mere hobby turned into a flourishing business. LaFleur turned a personal assortment of 3,000 books in 1996 into a 150,000-collection storefront in Port Neches.
Now, Fleur Fine Books will begin an expansion process.
Fleur Fine Books is located at 1720 Magnolia Ave #104, but LaFleur said the business used to be an old event center.
“I had the building for about a year and I got a hankering to start my bookstore back up again,” he said. “We remodeled this area, brought in shelves from California and started buying books. That was slightly over three years ago.”
LaFleur said since he bought the place he has received more books and done surprisingly well as a business, leading him to purchase more warehouse space and extend the current building.
He is building a new 2,400 square foot warehouse behind the current building to house some extra books.
He has multiple copies of titles and wants to remove some of those to get more titles in the store. The store currently displays more than 40,000 books.
The renovation is expected to provide 25-30 percent more store capacity.
LaFleur said he outgrew the current occupancy last year, but is excited to finally begin the expansion process.
“Our online business is building and building, and our walk-in traffic is improving,” he said. “We could probably get 10,000 different additional titles in here and about a 100,000 volumes in the new warehouse the way we have it planned. We’re are going to have somewhere between 100,000-150,000 books by the time we get finished.”
Even though bookstores around the country are being dubbed as a dying industry due to online books, kindles and e-readers, LaFleur said he is seeing a revival in individually owned stores.
“I was going to do it regardless because I love books and I think a community without a bookstore is woefully lacking,” he said.
Rick Beaulieu, who has been the store manager since the current location’s opening, said he loves working at the bookstore and is happy to be expanding.
“We never do the same thing twice it seems because it’s always a different book,” Beaulieu said. “Finding books for customers is one of my favorite things because it goes beyond just what’s in store. We have access to literally hundreds of thousands of books, so if we don’t have it I can go out and find it.”
LaFleur said he is hoping to have the building expansion done by the end of September with the completion of the warehouse done by the beginning of 2020.
“I’ve been a collector of books since the second grade, when I bought my first paper back copy of ‘The Incredible Journey,’” LaFleur said. “I love this business and I’m happy to be expanding. It’s like Christmas every day that we open a new box of books.”
To learn more about what Fleur Fine Books has to offer visit fleurfinebooks.com.
The bookstore will also be hosting a meet and greet at 5 p.m. Sept. 20 with Dan Schilling, author of New York Best Sellers and upcoming motion picture “Alone at Dawn.”