ENID, Okla. — Chloe Fuksa returned to Enid with a mission. She left for Colorado for college, then spent three years at the state Capitol as assistant to Enid Reps. Chad Caldwell and John Enns, "with the gray hairs to prove it."
She's back now, and running a business. Her bookstore, Putnam Six, was well-packed Monday for its grand opening.
She remembers the exact day she got the idea, Dec. 24, 2017. Less than a year later she made it happen.
"Boss was term-limited, it was time for a new chapter and Enid is home to me, so I said, 'Let's go home and do this,'" Fuksa said.
Running a shop is a different kind of stressful than running around a statehouse, she said, but already it feels worth it.
"It's so rewarding ... you get to meet people and you get to help the community," she said.
"We need something like this," Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce Chair Kyle Hockmeyer said. He bought his 3-year-old son Kash a copy of "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site."
"There used to be Hasting's, and then there was a bookstore in the mall, and that mall isn't exactly filled up as it used to be ... so this is nice."
The store is named for Robert Putnam, author of "Bowling Alone," a non-fiction book about the decline of community in America and of meaningful social interaction.
Fuksa's decision to open a bookstore in her hometown was inspired by a lot of things, she said.
"After Hasting's closed there was just a big void in the community for a bookstore," she said. "I think every community needs a bookstore, just as a gathering place and that's what I want this place to be."
A bookstore can be like a bar or a coffee shop, a place for a community to meet, talk and connect with itself.
To that end, Putnam Six will host many events for different ages and interests, including children's story times on Saturdays.
The back half of the store is filled exclusively with children's books. That taken with the Saturday story times might give the impression that Putnam Six is geared toward kids, but that just isn't the case, Fuksa said.
"I'm not a children's bookstore, but I want strongly a very good kid's section," she said. "I want families to come in here. I want kids to fall in love with reading. I want them to grow up with a book in front of their face and not a screen."
Right now Putnam Six has 900 different books on sale. She has plans to expand selection over time, based on taste and demand from the community, but for now is sticking mostly to best sellers, prizewinners and buzz generating must-reads.
Putnam Six is at 610 S. Cleveland, Suite 212, in the Sunset Plaza shopping center.