Staying on the shelf for good

Elise Franco

After 33 years, Kent bookstore finds permanent home downtown


Credit: Jason Hall

Logos Bookstore, which has been a staple in Kent’s community since it opened in 1974, has been looking for a permanent location. Now, 33 years and six locations later, Logos has finally found that place to call home.

Owner Shane Kardos said they were looking for a long time to buy land and invest in a long-term location for the store. When he and his wife, Ann, saw the old two-story house on the corner of Haymaker Parkway and West Main Street, they knew it would be the perfect spot to finally settle down.

“We won’t be moving for quite a while. We bought the corner,” he said. “Buying the land was a better investment of money, and we’ll be able to fix the corner up and put money back into the community.”

Logos isn’t just a run-of-the-mill local bookstore, however. Kardos said it’s one of the only successful Christian bookstores in the area. He attributes the long-running success to the diversity of the store.

“We’re a Christian bookstore, but we can get anything,” he said. “We order a lot of non-Christian stuff for schools, and we carry a lot of different items.”

Joyce Kight, librarian at Stow Presbyterian Church, said Logos has stayed in business for so long because they carry different material than most secular bookstores.

“They meet a community need, especially now that other area Christian bookstores have gone out of business,” she said. “The fact that they carry such unique material has enabled them to stay open.”

Besides selling books, Logos sells Christian music and DVDs, as well as books by J.R.R. Tolkien for the fantasy lovers and Beatrix Potter for children and adults who are feeling a little nostalgic.

Kardos said Logos prides itself on not only serving customers, but befriending them and making them feel at home as well. He and his wife are on a first-name basis with most Logos patrons.

“We’re not a stale store like some of the big chains,” he said. “Now that we’re in the house, it’s more like a quiet, homey place. You can pull up a cushy chair and look at a book for as long as you want.”

Stow resident Joyce Hoover has been a Logos customer for four years and first visited the new store last week.

“The new location is very nice. It’s different and homey,” she said. “I’ll definitely keep coming back to get my reading materials. They have a lot of things you don’t find in a commercial bookstore.”

Upstairs, the children’s’ room was designed to be a place kids could play and have fun.

“We like to treat the kids like they’re special when they come in,” Kardos said. “We give them stickers, and we have toys and dress up clothes in the kids room so they can play.”

He said the store does a lot of extra activities, such as helping out with vacation Bible school, holding American Girl parties and book signings.

One of the most important contributions Logos has made to the community however, has been the work done to help local churches build their libraries.

Kight said because Stow Presbyterian is usually on a tight budget, it has received discounts on any purchases it makes for the library. During the holiday season, Logos also holds a church night. Area churches sign up, and a percentage of all sales from that day are donated to it.

“It’s not just the financial savings though,” she said. “He’s very good at getting anything we need, even if they don’t have it in the store. He’s been a big help to many other churches in the area as well.”

Kight said the church has been using Logos as its main resource for many years and will continue to in the future.

“They’re super helpful and friendly people,” she said. “Shane is very knowledgeable about new releases and can answer almost any question I have.”

And because Logos is locally owned, Kardos said it’s important to keep business in the Kent-Stow area, so he is going to make his store as appealing as he can to all types of people in the community.

“When people spend money here, it goes right back into the community,” he said. “If you want to see locally owned stores still in Kent a year from now, you have to go and shop there.”

Now that Logos has begun to re-establish itself in Kent, Kardos said it’s time to move onto phase two of the relocation.

“We want to put in a coffee corner and have been talking with Ohio-based companies,” he said. “We’ll have one main type of coffee, which is what we’re tasting and trying to choose right now, but we’ll also have a coffee from Rwanda.”

Kardos said he is excited to bring the foreign coffee, called Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee, to Logos because all profits made are sent to a loan program to help women of the Rwandan genocide start their lives over.

“We invest time, as well as money, so people know this is a safe place to be,” he said. “We have a really cool opportunity here to be the listeners of the community and to be there for people.”

Contact public affairs reporter Elise Franco at [email protected].