Emily Buckley, editor in chief
If the streets and buildings of Downtown Logan could talk, they would surely have stories to tell. One of those stories is that of The Book Table, a family business that began in 1933 when a woman would travel to school book fairs with only a bag of books and a card table to sell her products on, and so the name The Book Table was born. She eventually set up shop at 36 West Center Street in Logan, where The White Owl currently operates.
In 1974 Cache Valley entrepreneur Gene Needham purchased The Book Table. He moved it to 87 North Main Street before purchasing the Keith O’Brien department store building at 29 South Main from the Thatcher Family in 1986 and moved The Book Table operations there.
Gene owned the store until his son and daughter-in-law, Jeff and Candice Needham, purchased the business in 2013.
Over the years, the store’s offerings have changed, following what Candice calls the ebbs and flows of the market. “We are a niche store, but the niche is constantly changing,” Candice said. “We are always trying to find unique offerings for Cache Valley residents.”
When Jeff and Candice bought the store, it boasted one of Cache Valley’s most complete VHS rental sections, as that market dwindled the store evolved.
They remain, however, one of the last 2,000 independent bookstores in the United States. Current store offerings include books, musical instruments, sheet music, games, toys, puzzles, children’s dress-ups, LDS products, home décor and boutique products, locally made products, and more.
“Our tagline is ‘Where Your Story Begins,’” Candice said. “We’ve tried to create a place where people can come in and create their story, whether that is diving into a story about a knight with a dress-up to match, learning to play an instrument, or finding a new cookbook and learning to cook.”
As if running a 36,000-square-foot retail store and managing 20 employees isn’t enough to keep a woman busy, Candice is also the mother of six. Over the years she has become a master multi-tasker. She says one of the benefits of owning her own business is the ability to involve her children in her work. “We have a nursery built into our office space, so all of my babies have come to work with me,” Candice said. “All of the kids have grown up helping the store, and our oldest son is now an official employee.”
Her ability to balance it all was tested during the last weeks of school when children were required to school at home during the COVID-19 shutdown and she was left to homeschool and be an innovative business owner all at once.
“You just do what you have to do,” Candice said of the experience. “I keep telling myself the same thing I’ve been reminding my kids: ‘You can do harder things than you think you can … that is where you grow. Hopefully we can all look back at this experience and say it was an opportunity to rise.”