Knowing Your Neighbors: Gabriel’s Bookstore

Cultivating a Love of Reading by Making Books as Affordable as Possible

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DULUTH, Minn. — Gabriel’s Bookstore is a second hand store, but the folks that keep it running have firsthand knowledge of why books are so important.

“I think it builds family because you read to your kids, you talk to your kids about what you’ve read, and they’ve read together,” said store manager Mary Orman.

Orman’s been working here for more than 20 years.

“I’ve been associated with it probably since ’93 or ’94, back when my kids were in high school,” she says.

And at a time where everyone seems so attached to phones and computers, Gabriel’s is seeking to rejuvenate a love of reading.

The store is filled with books and records – and you won’t have to break the bank to get them in your hands.

That’s the whole point.

“We enjoy selling books to people and giving books away to people who can’t afford them otherwise – our prices are incredibly low,” Orman said.

Bibles are free; they give encyclopedias away when they get them.

Most books cost as little as 25 cents or as much as four dollars.

And even though their mission has an evangelical ministry, Orman says their book collection is not all religious.

“We are non-denominational, as far as the content of our bookstore is non-denominational,” she said. “We have a variety of everything.”

Gabriel’s Bookstore is able to provide its wares so cheaply because all the books here were donated.

“I’ve had people come in with boxes and boxes and boxes of books – or a small bag – and they’re all accepted,” Orman said.

Getting books into the hands of the people who need them, and creating stronger families through a love of reading, that’s part of the reason Mary Orman’s been here so long.

“This is my happy place,” she says with a grin. “This is my favorite place to be, especially when it’s full of people.”

Gabriel’s Bookstore is located in the Lakeside Neighbordhood in Duluth, at 4915 E. Superior Street.

They are open five days a week and are staffed by volunteers.

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