UCCS student’s unique non-profit bookstore sees success

Oct. 6, 2014

Samantha Morley
[email protected]

In April 2013, UCCS English literature student Jonathan Fey partnered with Visual and Performing Arts professor Marina Eckler to open a unique bookstore in downtown Colorado Springs.

After receiving a $10,000 grant from the Pikes Peak Community Foundation the duo purchased the lease and officially opened Mountain Fold bookstore in the summer.

“Since then, we’ve basically been taking it from the idea stage and making it actually happen,” Fey said.

Books of unusual variety decorated one of the walls of the store. Contemporary works, primarily those published in the last 10 to 15 years, sat on wooden shelves.

The books consist of fiction, art, poetry, theory and hybrid genres. Eckler handles purchasing art books while Fey focuses on poetry.

“None of these will probably be anything that you’ll cover in your English classes,” Fey said.

Fey gets books from small presses and independent publishers that are often associated with universities and utilize older printing technologies, such as letterpress, woodcut and linotype.

“Since the book as a thing is a little bit obsolete it kind of allows people to use it more as an art form than as a thing primarily associated with transmitting information,” Fey said.

“I find that people who make books with letterpress, or people even doing woodcut and linotype have a pretty careful attention to the book’s physicality, like the way it feels in your hand.”

Fey finds harmony with the ways old-fashioned printing and poetry pay attention to details.

“Poetry has that same sort of attention to language as looking at its internal mechanics and its structures,” he said.

Fey and Eckler are hosting events at their store in an effort to bring attention to their business.

“We wanted to be event heavy kind of in the first few months at least to try to bring as many people through the door as possible,” Fey said.

Poet, writer and art critic Barry Schwabsky will be at Mountain Fold on Oct. 8. He is also hosting a lecture at UCCS on Oct 9.

Fey explained that their events are primarily poetic in nature but may feature community artists as well. He hopes to include as many UCCS students as possible to form a bond between the university and the bookstore.

Fey and Eckler use word of mouth to bring awareness to their store. Facebook, Twitter and their website are essential to advertising their business.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of word of mouth and a lot of passing out flyers,” Fey said.

Fey expressed that locating funding sources is key getting the store off the ground.

“We knew it was going to take a lot of money, but figuring out where all that money comes from is one of the big challenges,” he said.

In order to raise money for the store, Fey and Eckler have hosted fundraisers and are advertising for people to become members. Members are offered items such as cloth tote bags or t-shirts for their contributions. The base cost for membership is $10.

“I think $10 is really easy for a lot of people to wrap their heads around,” Fey said. He estimates that they have about 250 members so far.

Fey still needs to complete his senior portfolio to attain his degree from UCCS.

For updates and event information, email info@mountainfoldbooks or visit Facebook.com/mountainfoldbooks.