Lynn McMillan has wanted to own a bookstore for as long as she can remember. Now, she is celebrating over one year of her business, A Likely Story, and sharing a love for reading with the Colorado Springs community.
Books have always been a significant part of McMillan’s and her family’s life. A Black Forest resident and mother of 23 children (11 adopted), she spent 25 years homeschooling her kids and introducing them to the world of books.
“We used a lot of great literature in our studies,” the 63-year-old said. “Now, I’m an empty-nester, and I decided to follow a passion of mine ... and I opened this bookstore.”
McMillan’s passion came to fruition when her daughter, Rachel Young, opened The Living Room, a houseplant store, in downtown Colorado Springs. There was an adjacent space that Young didn’t need, so she encouraged her mother to open the bookstore she always dreamed of.
“She [Young] and I are right next to each other, which is nice because we get to work together every day,” McMillan said.
As business neighbors, the two keep the same hours and help each other with orders and restocking, and McMillan helps Young with large plant deliveries. The two stores connect through a door that they leave open for customers to walk back and forth. When someone checks out at The Living Room, Young will encourage them to exit through A Likely Story.
“I try to be a huge advocate for her, because reading is so important,” Young said. “It’s the other love of my life besides plants.”
Young’s love for books started at a young age with McMillan’s encouragement. When a nearby church and its affiliated school closed near their home in Pennsylvania, McMillan purchased the school’s library and installed it in their basement.
“It had floor-to-ceiling shelves in aisles, and it was all alphabetized by authors like an actual library ... and that’s how we grew up,” Young said. “My mom is a huge advocate for reading, especially to kids.
“I just think it’s so important to be able to expand your imagination and travel in your head and learn about different cultures and people in different mindsets. It’s just so important to read from different perspectives, especially for young children.”
McMillan takes the love for reading she taught her children and puts it into her bookstore. She hand picks every title she sells, putting an emphasis on children’s books. She already has an extensive list of recommendations for homeschool families thanks to her 25 years of educating her own children at home. And even though the store focuses on children’s books, customers can come in and find various adult and teen titles as well.
“I can speak highly of a lot of the books in my store because I’ve read them myself,” McMillan said. “And I can order just about any title anybody is interested in. I will work really hard to find any obscure title someone is looking for.”
As a new business opening during a global pandemic, A Likely Story’s first day was pushed from March to May of 2020, and they couldn’t have large groups or events. Despite these challenges, A Likely Story has one year of business under its belt as well as several repeat customers who come in for new books and recommendations.
“People want to invest into their own hometown and their own community,” she said. “So, I found a following here of people that want to make sure that their locally owned businesses stay in business.”
As the world opens back up, McMillan is hoping to have story hours for children, local author presentations, book club meetings, and more. Those plans are on hold for now, but customers can still stop in, say hello, and find their next book to read.
“Reading opens up an entirely new world to people,” McMillian said. “A well-read person is much more interesting to be around and have much more to add to the world because their mind has been broadened by other peoples’ thoughts and ideas.”