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InForum: FM’s newest bookstore opens with Black Friday sneak peek in West Fargo

December 2, 2020

Check Ferguson Books out in the InForum!

The West Fargo store will feature a wide selection of new and used books, including bestsellers, local authors and local interest titles, founder Dane Ferguson said.Written By: Thomas Evanella | Nov 28th 2020 – 7am.

The new Ferguson Books is open at 300 Sheyenne Street in West Fargo.
David Samson / The Forum

WEST FARGO — Ferguson Books and More, the area’s newest bookstore, is offering local bookworms a “sneak peek” into their new store with a Black Friday weekend sale.

The sale, founder Dane Ferguson said, allows readers to fill a bag with used books for $20. It’s the first glimpse shoppers will get into the new bookstore, which is slated to fully open a week or two prior to Christmas in the Pioneer Place at 300 Sheyenne St. in West Fargo.

“While we were not quite ready to do a grand opening for what has typically been a crazy Black Friday and Small Business Saturday weekend, we decided to do a sneak peek,” he said.

The West Fargo location will be Ferguson Books and More‘s third location in North Dakota. The first location opened ten years ago in Grand Forks when Dane and his wife, Elizabeth, noticed larger chain bookstores were vacating the city.

“[We were] filling a void that was happening as national chains were closing. They were closing smaller stores in the malls,” Ferguson said. “My wife and I saw an opportunity. We both missed having a bookstore up in Grand Forks when we lived up there and decided to give it a try and find a unique twist on it.”

Dane Ferguson has opened a new Ferguson Books location at 300 Sheyenne Street in West Fargo.
David Samson / The Forum

Dane Ferguson has opened a new Ferguson Books location at 300 Sheyenne Street in West Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

Since then, Ferguson has built a regional brand by running pop-up sales similar to this weekend’s in 16 cities as across Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. The pop-up sales were birthed out of necessity in 2018 as the store was seeking to generate revenue, and move inventory, Ferguson explained.

As a result, Ferguson Books ultimately opened a store in Bismarck, which Ferguson said bolstered the flagship Grand Forks location.

“Having an identity beyond the Grand Forks border helped the Grand Forks store,” he said. “It’s helped our business not just because we’re building more stores but also helping bring brand identity throughout the whole state of North Dakota.”

The moves have grown the Ferguson Books brand and made the move to West Fargo possible.

“When it worked in Bismarck, we knew it would work beyond and going into a bigger market like Fargo-Moorhead was the next step for us,” Ferguson said.

The West Fargo store will feature a wide selection of new and used books, including bestsellers, local authors and local interest titles. The used books are sourced through a trade-in program which exchanges books for store credits. Used books are sold at a discount and allow readers to see what books their neighbors are reading, Ferguson said.

Used books are a key component of Ferguson Books’s business model because they allow shoppers to accumulate store credit and level the playing field with larger retailers.

“It’s hard to compete with Amazon and the big boxes like Barnes and Noble just on sheer price point,” Ferguson remarked. “We figure out a different way to approach it from the customer side. We can’t match that price, but we can give you more books for a similar price.”

Opening the store during the COVID-19 pandemic has posed its fair share of challenges, Ferguson commented. Limits on capacity and tactile experiences as well as cancelations of events such as major national and regional author tours undercut the customer experience small bookstores offer.https://39efa4caf564bb0b1d782636abc14067.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Still, Ferguson noted that the pandemic has resulted in conscientious consumers turning to small businesses in their communities.

“It’s always tough and challenging when you’re working on brick-and-mortar and it just became even that much more difficult with all the challenges we’ve faced with 2020,” he explained. “For the most part, I feel like the community is trying to embrace both a sense of small business pride and helping one another.”

Shoppers browse the selection at the new Ferguson Books location at 300 Sheyenne Street in West Fargo.
David Samson / The Forum

Shoppers browse the selection at the new Ferguson Books location at 300 Sheyenne Street in West Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

Ferguson has also found books to be an escape from the realities of the pandemic and the nation’s political divide.

“I think a lot of people have turned to the community looking for small businesses to support as well as books as a good way to disconnect from the noise and all the chaos that’s been happening this year,” he said.

“It’s been a challenging year, but it’s been a year that we’ve seen the fruits of our efforts,” Ferguson concluded.

With a goal of “growing the pie, not shrinking it,” Ferguson is optimistic his store will be a welcome addition to the F-M area’s small business community. “There are some other small independent bookstores out there that are part of our community that I enjoy myself,” he said. “We’re not trying to take their business away but we’re trying to look at another way for people to shop for books.”