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Chehalis Bookstore, Coffee Shop Fills Location of Former Brothel New Business: Shakespeare and Company Opened in Chehalis on Monday By Graham Perednia / gperednia@ Jun 22, 2017 3

Yasser Khan, right, and Karen McSwain, center, look on as Mo Anderson, left, shows off her golf swing during a slow moment at the new Shakespeare & Company coffee and book store on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in downtown Chehalis. McSwain and Anderson, who also owned The Pearl Cafe, opened the new shop on Monday. The pair closed down The Pearl — a popular breakfast and lunch spot — to open their new venture on the corner of Northwest Pacific Avenue and Northwest North Street.

Pete Caster / pcaster@

Stefanie Holmes, right, reaches for a stirrer as she prepares a latte for a customer at Shakespeare & Company on Wednesday afternoon in Chehalis.

Pete Caster / pcaster@

Miriam Ash pours a latte for a customer at Shakespeare & Company on Wednesday afternoon in Chehalis.

Pete Caster / pcaster@

Shakespeare & Company owners Karen McSwain, left, and Mo Anderson relax in one of the rooms of their new coffee shop and book store in downtown Chehalis on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

Pete Caster / pcaster@

A Lewis County Historical Museum photo of Ella Simmons, part of the inspiration for the logo, rests on a table at Shakespeare & Company on Tuesday in Chehalis.

Matt Baide /

Shakespeare & Company receives work as it sits on 120 NW Pacific Avenue in Chehalis on Tuesday as it awaits the grand opening.

Matt Baide / The sign is sealed with a kiss, the cafe is named after a famous Paris bookstore and the business is located in a former house for ladies of the night. 

The Shakespeare and Company: Coffee and Used Books, in Chehalis at 120 NW Pacific Ave. opened on Monday. 

Owners Karen McSwain and Maureen (Mo) Anderson, who also own and operate The Pearl Cafe in downtown Chehalis, were out driving around when they turned a corner and saw the historic white house on the corner of Pacific Avenue was for lease. The duo decided to go for it.

“We love coffee for one,” McSwain said. 

After the first day of operation, McSwain said she and Anderson decided to focus on Shakespeare and Company and are going to close The Pearl. Details about the switch are still up in the air, but McSwain said it is the next logical step as business owners. The amount of work required at The Pearl was getting harder to do, she said. 

“I’m feeling less stressed,” McSwain said. “This environment as an owner operator is good for my soul.” 

McSwain and Anderson opened The Pearl with the goal of running it for three years, and they are just shy of that mark.

“It was successful beyond all expectations,” McSwain said. “I want to leave it when it is running high.” 

As an avid reader and writer, McSwain has always wanted to have a used bookstore. She decided to name it after the legendary bookstore in Paris, Shakespeare and Company. Founded in 1919 by American Sylvia Beach, the store and lending library attracted some of the biggest names from the lost generation such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and T.S. Eliot.   

All served in World War I and lived in Paris during the 1920s. Their generation became known as the lost generation because of the toll the war inflicted on them. 

Beach is also one of McSwain’s personal heros. 

The history of the name joins the history of the building in Chehalis, which was built in 1904 for Judge Seymour White. The building was purchased by Ella Simmons, where she operated a brothel during the first part of the 20th century. Simmons moved out in the early 1970s and the house fell into disrepair.

Before it could be demolished, contractor Frank Mason restored the house, and Simmons lived there from 1989 until she required nursing home care in 1996. 

McSwain said she always had red lipstick, so to honor her and the building’s history, the sign outside the business has a big set of red lips. 

As for the cafe and bookstore itself, McSwain hopes it will become a place where members of the community come to talk to one another and meet new people. 

“It is quaint and cozy,” Anderson said.“We want people to slow down and relax for a bit.” 

There is ample seating on chairs and couches as well as at tables. People can peruse the shelves while they sip their coffee. 

The furniture is vintage, and the pair made sure most of what they have is made in the United States, Anderson said. 

The books come from yard sales, thrift stores and estate sales, McSwain said. The titles range from fiction and nonfiction to self help and religion. They are all in good quality.

People can come in, find a book, sit down and read it if they want without buying it, she added. 

“It’s the kind of bookstore where the book finds you,” McSwain said.    

The cafe will serve the typical coffee shop items, espressos, lattes and a variety of scones and pastries. The coffee will come from Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. because McSwain likes the coffee and the practices of the company when acquiring the beans. 

Not only is the coffee free trade, she said, but they also pay their workers a living wage. 

The staff has to go through six hours of training held by the Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. before they can serve their coffee, McSwain said. 

When the doors opened on Monday, McSwain and Anderson were ready to greet their new customers and regulars from The Pearl. 

“We are just hoping it takes off,” Anderson said.

About the Business Shakespeare and Company: Coffee and Used Books is located at 120 NW Pacific Ave. in Chehalis. It is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. They are closed Saturday and Sunday. Learn more about the business on its Facebook page. 

× Post a comment as Emoticons [smile] [beam] [wink] [sad] [cool] [innocent] [rolleyes] [whistling] [lol] [huh] [tongue] [love] [sleeping] [yawn] [unsure] [angry] [blink] [crying] [ohmy] [scared] [sleep] [sneaky] [tongue_smile] [thumbdown] [thumbup] [censored] [happybirthday] [ban] [spam] [offtopic] [batman] [ninja] [pirate] [alie ftfwbqov. men's timberland® roll-top bootsn] Comment Text Cancel Posting">Post comment × Report Cancel Reporting">Report Abuse × Watch this discussion. Stop watching this discussion. Get an email notification whenever someone contributes to the discussion Notifications from this discussion will be disabled. Cancel Start watching Stop watching (3) comments hiccup1234 Jun 22, 2017 2:15pm

Great article & best of success to the proprietors!

Report Add Reply national Jun 23, 2017 8:15am

I hope the Twin Cities are receptive to one more used bookstore and one more coffee shop and that these ladies succeed in their new venture. Too bad The Pearl will be closed (the food and atmosphere there are both great), but running a restaurant is hard work and if it was causing stress for the owners, they're making the right decision for themselves.

Report Add Reply Karenmc Jun 24, 2017 5:41am

We actually had a three year plan for The Pearl. We're ending six months shy of that, because the opportunity for the coffeehouse presented itself more quickly than we had anticipated, not because of hard work or stress (which are inherent in any small business). Starbucks is the only sit down coffee shop in Chehalis, and we're hoping that Shakespeare & Co will provide a unique, cozy alternative to that. We also have Pearl-inspired grab-n-go items available for folks who are looking for a quick, healthy breakfast or lunch.

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Watermelon Soda

Many Black people refuse to eat watermelon in public because of the racist stereotype, with roots embedded in slavery, that suggests they have undying love for the fruit. However, this didn’t stop the Miami-based Cawy Bottling Co. from marketing its watermelon soda with a mascot that depicts an image of a Black girl with ponytails eating watermelon on one side and an image of a white boy on the other.  In 2009, Target pulled the beverage from its shelves after coming under fire for selling the watermelon soda with the controversial images.



Darkie Toothpaste

A toothpaste known as “Darkie,” featuring a smiling blackface performer as its logo, was sold for years in various parts of Asia. It was originally manufactured in Shanghai by the Hawley & Hazel Chemical Co. before being bought by the Colgate-Palmolive Co. After pressure from shareholders, religious groups and Black people, Colgate-Palmolive renamed Darkie and redesigned its logo.

Changing the name from Darkie to Darlie didn’t seem to be much of a drastic change; for, while the logo did change to a smiling man of ambiguous racial background in a top hat, in Chinese, the world “darlie” means “black person,” according to Wikipedia. The product, despite its infamous history, is still sold widely across Asia today, expanding into Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

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