Joe said Elena, who serves as the company’s vice president and general manager, delivers youthful energy and knowledge of social media. 

click to enlarge From right, Joe, Nan and daughter Elena Hight transitioning in their new venture at Best of Books in Edmond. Photo/Shannon Cornman - SHANNON CORNMAN
  • Shannon Cornman
  • From right, Joe, Nan and daughter Elena Hight transitioning in their new venture at Best of Books in Edmond. Photo/Shannon Cornman

Julie Hovis and Kathy Kinasewitz had owned Edmond-based Best of Books since 1992 but in 2012 they decided to retire and sell the store.

Kinasewitz said she and Hovis had talked to several potential buyers over the years but they didn’t want to sell their beloved store to just anybody.

Meanwhile, in 2012, Joe Hight and his wife, Nan, began a nearly two-year stay in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Joe served as the editor of local newspaper The Gazette. Nan, having just retired from directing public and private high school bands for more than 30 years, began volunteering in the gift shop of a local hospital.

Their daughter, Elena, was embarking on a unique journey of her own, after earning a drama degree from Washington University in St. Louis, she volunteered to move to Central America to teach reading to 5-year-old children in an orphanage on the Honduras-Guatemala border.

By 2014, Elena had spent two years in Honduras, Nan’s volunteer work had almost grown into a full-time job of its own and Joe helped The Gazette win a Pulitzer Prize on a story written the year before. But each wanted to come back to Oklahoma and try something new.

Upon meeting the Hights in June, Kinasewitz said she and Hovis thought they would be ideal owners.

“[They] were friendly and outgoing people, something you need in the retail business,” said Kinasewitz, adding that their hands-on approach to growing the business would suit it well.
But the Hights say they bring more to the bookselling table.

Joe said Elena, who serves as the company’s vice president and general manager, delivers youthful energy and knowledge of social media.

Elena said Nan, the company’s secretary, carries decades of teaching experience and ways to connect with fellow teachers to get them the reading materials they need.

And Elena and Nan said Joe brings his connections through his journalism and printing days — along with the title Big Ideas Guy — to Best of Books as its president.

One particular challenge Joe said he sees with owning an independent bookstore is the countless choices for readers everywhere, including major bookstore chains and the proliferation of digital reading media. However, he expressed confidence in being able to keep Best of Books successful and thriving due to an existing loyal base of patrons and providing personalized customer service.

While Best of Books is still a brick-and-mortar bookstore and, according to Joe, “[it’s] the foundation of what [they] do,” the Hights say they are planning for continued growth and success. Their future outreach plans include an updated website, a Facebook page and a new Twitter account.

The Hights also say they plan to continue long-running projects like supplying book fairs in local schools and hosting book signings with local and regional authors.

Kinasewitz and Hovis plan to stay with the bookstore as advisors to help the Hights ease their transition into full-time ownership. Best of Books is located at 1313 E. Danforth Road in Edmond’s Kickingbird Square shopping center. For more information, call 340-9202 or visit bestofbooksedmond.com.

Print Headline: A family affair, Oklahoma natives return to Edmond and purchase local bookstore.

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of...

About The Author

Zach Jacobs

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Community & Lifestyle

Lyric's Grease @ Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School

Close Encounters: Western Wildlife @ National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Close Encounters: Western Wildlife @ National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

View all of today's events »

© 2021 Oklahoma Gazette / Tierra Media Inc. All rights reserved.
REPRODUCTION OF CONTENT IN ANY MANNER WITHOUT PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED.
TO OBTAIN PERMISSION, CONTACT US

Powered by Foundation