Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Henry’s Books: Alums fundraising to open bookstore named after son

Nathan Feller
BHSU alums Elizabeth and Dylan Mattson started a Kickstarter campaign to fund an independent bookstore in Spearfish. The fund drive ends Oct. 5.

Spearfish resident and Black Hills State University alumni, Elizabeth Mattson, and her husband, Dylan Mattson, hold ambitions to create a unique-to Spearfish bookstore. The store will be called Henry’s Books after their son, Henry.

“Henry’s Books is a crowdfunded, independent bookstore coming soon to Spearfish,” Elizabeth Mattson said. “We are unique from any other bookstore in the area because we are going to be crowdfunded and we are doing all of that through Kickstarter.”

The Mattson’s have resided in Spearfish since 2014 when they initially came to attend BHSU. After their graduation in 2017, the couple decided to remain in town. The only thing they felt was missing from their community was a bookstore.

“We saw there was a gap in what the community of Spearfish offered in terms of retail,” Elizabeth Mattson said. “And it was obvious that we didn’t have a bookstore out of all the coffee places, breweries or clothing boutiques. We have such a wide variety of things for people to choose from, but there’s nowhere for anybody to find an old-fashioned bookstore.”

The couple felt that the Spearfish community was in need of a fresh selection of reading material tied to an inclusive hub of creativity.

“[Customers] can expect that Henry’s Books is going to include a wide variety to choose from including fiction, nonfiction, lifestyle, wellness, young adult fiction, local interest and children’s books,” Elizabeth Mattson said. “We intend to cater to local interests. We also hope to feature local and regional authors.”

Along with an expansive selection of literature, the Mattson’s plan to dedicate a section of their bookstore to works that are personally selected by those who contribute to the Kickstarter fund.

Through our Kickstarter campaign people have the option to sponsor a book,” Elizabeth Mattson said. “We are committed to carrying that book for the lifetime of the store. That will include the book being on a special shelf with a special signage in that person’s name.”

The Mattson’s target amount to purchase a location and open Henry’s Books is $45,000, which they must reach by Oct. 5 per their agreement with Kickstarter. Over halfway through the fundraising event, they have collected nearly half of what they need.

“We have at least three different locations that we’re looking at,” Elizabeth Mattson said. “We haven’t signed a lease yet because we haven’t been fully funded through our Kickstarter campaign. But no matter what, we will be in the heart of downtown Spearfish.”

If they can reach their funding goals within the 30-day period, the Mattsons plan to open their doors at the end of November or the beginning of December. However, an exact date has not yet been specified.

The Mattsons’ connection to Spearfish and their ties to the BHSU community will hold a focal point within Henry’s Books. The couple plans to cater numerous events to current Black Hills State students.

There’s going to be stuff available for college students,” Elizabeth Mattson said. “We have an extensive list of programming and events that we want to do. We want to partner with whoever is interested in partnering with us in different reading programs and rewards programs. We want to include a variety of workshops, private events, parties, and author lectures.”

The couple believes that Henry’s Books will be a place for the community to rediscover or further pursue its literary interest. They also hope to place a strong emphasis on family values to create a welcoming environment for all.

“We’ve always been nostalgic about books that we read growing up,” Elizabeth Mattson said. “And I would say, like many students, in college, we didn’t get to enjoy the free time to read the books that we wanted. After we graduated college, we got to rediscover our love for reading and literature, and, after our son was born, it was the most natural thing for him to pick up a book. Reading and literature are part of our daily life. We really want to be the place that people think to come to first for [literature].”

About the Contributor
Nathan Feller, Editor-in-Chief