By Ron VandenBoom
The awning may be coming down and the old Video Excitement sign may disappear, but Creative Leisure is not disappearing from the landscape.
Some people have come in and asked if I was closing, Mike Hamilton, owner of Creative Leisure said, referring to the change.
They will be replaced, he said of the awning and sign. Its just the Video Excitement name will no longer be associated with this building.
The new external image is just a signal of a much larger change taking place inside the brick building at 417 First Street in Havre.
It may be the cleaner, neater appearance customers notice, or the condensed number of videos on the racks, but on Nov. 11-14, when Creative Leisure has its grand reopening, patrons will also notice books.
Books, books, and more books, will occupy a 1,400 square-foot section on the south end of the store.
Hamilton said he intends to offer customers a full-service book store complete with a Kids Corner and magazine section.
A general selection of fiction and nonfiction will be offered initially at Creative Leisure, composed mostly, Hamilton said, of what his suppliers have determined to be the best selling books in the northwest region in each selected category.
Using the category animals as an example, Hamilton explained that he would start with an assortment of the best selling books on animals currently available in the northwest region. The same procedure will be used in other categories to give Havre shoppers the broadest selection of the most popular books in the area.
Hamilton said that over time he will be able to gear his selections to more accurately reflect what Havre customers want, making the store even more appealing to the shopper.
Special orders will also be a feature that Hamilton said he expects to be popular.
We hope to keep on hand what people want and do a real good job on special orders, Hamilton said. Getting most special orders will take no more than a week.
Another advantage Hamilton sees in the new book store are his hours of operation. Creative Leisure will be the only book store open 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sunday - Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
We think we can provide a service thats not being provided right now, Hamilton said.
Another addition to the grand reopening celebration will be Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Ford, a part-time Chinook resident who spends most of his time in Maine or Louisiana. He has written seven books of fiction and is currently writing for several nationally distributed magazines, Hamilton said.
Hamilton is doing most of the construction himself for the new book store, converting shelving that was previously used for videos. Additional shelving is also being added to the store to accommodate the new assortment of literature.
Hamilton said he expects to add audio books sometime after the store opens, but he has not yet determined the quantity or format.
Some of Creative Liesures old video titles have had to be culled from the large selection Hamilton once carried, but he said he will still be carrying about 4,000 of the more popular titles with an increase in the number of new titles he carries.
Thats what people want, he said, noting that the more new videos he carries, the more people rent and buy them.
Hamilton expects to make no changes in the music department. We take a lot of pride in what we do in music and we think we do a good job.