by Kathy Eide Casas
Welcome to Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore, where book lovers from near and far will find books lining each room, from floor to ceiling. Literally!
“Every day is a new adventure,” said owner Barbara Rogers of her new business venture that combines her love of used books with the energy of Jazzercise. A unique and energetic combination!
Her reinvention of Fresno’s long-time-loved Hart’s Haven, has been good news for all those devoted readers who love nothing more than the feel of a book in their hands. An experienced online book seller, Rogers knows that there’s simply no substitute for the turning of actual paper pages; a sharp contrast to the swiping of a finger on an electronic tablet.
Still located in its original historic Tower District location, Hart’s Haven is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Walk through the doors of this cozy establishment and the scent of millions of book pages immediately awakens your senses. In an instant, you’ll be face to face with a selection of books unlike any other. Credit Barbara Rogers for her tenacity, creativity, and dedication to ensuring that folks have a unique array of titles at their fingertips.
Not long ago, Barbara purchased 2,000 boxes of books. That’s over 100,000 books! Her goal is to unpack four to eight boxes each day, “It’s like Christmas,” she said. “I don’t know what’s in each box until I open it and unpack it.” A challenging yet fun task for this local entrepreneur, whose smile and friendly personality draw people in to Hart’s Haven.
To hear Barbara describe her new business life, she said, “It’s like winning the trifecta! I’ve got a selection of books that includes over 150,000 titles and I start the day offering Jazzercise classes at the bookstore. It’s such a great way to bring people together, and this combination can’t be found anywhere else in the Valley.” Indeed, she is making history every day at this already historic bookstore.
Calling Fresno home for the past eight years, Barbara Rogers and her family were originally attracted to the area because of the awesome affordable housing. She explained, “My mom and aunt grew up in the area and when it came time for our family to settle in, we looked at Fresno. We love the small town feeling combined with big benefits.”
Barbara was originally intrigued with Hart’s several years ago when longtime owner Shirley Hart, listed the store for sale. Hart’s Haven had grown over the course of two decades, into a treasured landmark for book lovers. When Shirley decided to sell the store, Barbara came in and looked around. Her original idea was to approach Shirley about selling her all her books to enhance her own online book selling business. Though that never came to be, something even better did. Call it timing or call it fate, it was four years later when this dynamic duo came to an agreement, and Barbara is now proud to call Hart’s Haven Used Book Store her own.
To complement the bookstore, each morning and evening, Barbara offers Jazzercise classes in the back portion of the store. An enthusiastic Jazzercise instructor, she brings together a broad spectrum of participants. There are ladies in their 20s and ladies in their 70s and those who come from as far north as Woodward Park and as close as Tower District neighborhoods to start their day in a jazzy way and then have the added benefit of browsing the books.
Hart’s Haven’s selection of used books is priced affordably at $1.00 for paperbacks and $2.00 for hardcovers, allowing customers to fill their arms with favorite titles. The 150,000 books include topics such as:
Metaphysical/New Age, Self Improvement, Mysteries, Novels, Children’s, Health, Psychology, Finance, Westerns, Romance, SciFi, Cooking, Travel, Gardening, Sports, Art, Hobbies, Games, Politics, Business, History, Plays, Poetry, Classics and Literature.
For those interested in a particular title, Barbara is happy to do a personal stock check, just give her a call at 559.264.2656.
Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore (and Jazzercise!) is located at 950 North Van Ness Ave. in Fresno or find them on Facebook at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore.
Jazzercise Hours (Each class is one hour)
TUES-SAT 8:45 a.m.
TUES, WED, & THURS 5:30 p.m.
In November, they will be adding a MON 5:30 p.m. class and more in the coming year.
TUES-SAT: 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.