By Bill Hanna
Crunch time for Christmas shoppers has arrived, and for many that may mean tromping through myriad stores at various malls as they search for a variety of gifts.
Let’s assume the following are among the items on your Christmas list: a newly released bestseller, a box of chocolates, a print or picture for the wall, an interactive children’s book, a plush stuffed animal, a CD, a vinyl LP, and a piece of pottery.
How many places must you visit before you have found everything you need? Just one!
For the past 24 years, Words & Music Bookstore has been offering a wide selection of books, CDs, artwork, and numerous other unique gifts to Ohio Valley residents. Nestled among the beautiful rolling hills between the bottom of Country Club Hill and Oglebay Park, this little gem is one of Wheeling’s coziest and most unique shops.
From the time Alan Lestini opened the doors of Words and Music at Stratford Springs, the shop’s congenial owner and proprietor has always offered a wide selection of various gifts. Lestini said what makes his shop special is its “intimacy,” and anyone who has visited the place will readily concur.
The store is beautifully appointed with constantly changing displays and comfortable seating, and the rich, wooden shelves in which many of the books are displayed give you the feeling of being in the library of an elegant mansion. This definitely is no ordinary bookstore.
Because Words & Music is locally owned and operated instead of being part of a chain, Lestini is quick to point out how vital community support is for his store and for other similar businesses.
“Now more than ever, it’s important for communities to support places like Words & Music, not only because they serve a role economically, but because they are vital to a community’s identity. With all of the things that are happening with technology, we still have a place for bookstores,” he said. “Say you have friends in town—where are you going to take them? To your computer room? You still need a place to go. It’s important for a community to have a bookstore.
“It’s also important for a community to have separate, individual shops that don’t have that homogenous look like every other place.”
In addition to providing his patrons with a warm and inviting shopping environment, Lestini goes out of his way to promote the works of local artists and writers.
“We do as many local author signings as possible to support local writers, and local artists are welcome to sell their work on consignment.”
Lestini takes great pride in offering his patrons special care and attention. For example, he does a lot of special ordering to serve the different needs of everyone, and he also will ship items anywhere in the United States. And he is constantly adding to his inventory to offer a wide variety of gifts to Ohio Valley shoppers.
“At Words & Music we do our very best to meet the individual needs of everyone who walks through our door. Wheeling is a special place, and we have received wonderful support throughout the years from its citizens. Our way of reciprocating for that support is to provide gifts and books for just about every possible occasion, and if someone can’t find a particular item, we will do our very best to get it.”
The, warm, charming and friendly atmosphere at Words & Music offers Christmas shoppers a welcome respite from the frenetic hustle and bustle of crowded malls and huge chain stores. This beautiful little shop may well have been one of Wheeling’s best- kept secrets, but let’s hope it won’t be that any longer.
Words & Music Bookstore
4 Hyde Park Drive
Wheeling, WV. 26003
Monday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 10 am to 3 pm