By Lisa Carolin
You might say Michelle Tuplin, owner of Serendipity Books, located at 113 West Middle Street in Chelsea, is and always has been obsessed with books and stories.
“What a dull place the world would be without stories,” said Tuplin. “My love of stories began before I remember, moved through the walking down the street bumping into lamp-posts since my head was in a book stage, and has now reached the point where I write stories myself in the early morning hours, talk about stories all day long, and read stories at night.”
Tuplin, who grew up in Yorkshire, England, has been the sole owner of Serendipity Books since March, 2017. Prior to that, she co-owned the store with the original owner, Lucy Silverio, for a couple of years.
“My decision to become part of Serendipity Books was as serendipitous as the book store itself,” said Tuplin. “I was visiting the previous owner Lucy in the store, doing a jigsaw puzzle with her, talking books, and she asked me.”
Tuplin has lived in Chelsea for 21 years and has raised three children in Chelsea, two of whom are now in college and one who is in high school, all of whom work at the store sometimes. Tuplin says her eldest child painted the birds for the store’s logo.
Serendipity Books recently joined the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce and Tuplin enjoys socializing with other business owners in town.
“Being part of a business community that supports each other is a valuable thing,” she said. “I grew up in a small town in Yorkshire where I knew all the shopkeepers and most of the residents. My mum used to torture me as an impatient kiddo with endless stops to chat as we did our daily shopping. Who knew I would try and recreate that for myself in adulthood and America?”
Her parents still reside in England, and make a point to visit Chelsea every spring and work on Tuplin’s garden.
Serendipity Books carries all sorts of books, ranging from self-help to romance, mysteries to biographies. Tuplin’s personal favorite genre is literary fiction, and she prides herself on the store’s collection. She carries both new and used books and is happy to order a customer’s request.
Tuplin puts little cards with comments in many of the store’s books, which she says can influence the books customers choose. She likes to host events at Serendipity Books such as new book launches and writer’s workshops.
“As a writer myself, I am involved in the local writing community,” she said. “My absolute favorite is to help celebrate a friend’s new book, like the recent launch of Doug Smith’s poetry collection, ‘Social Work and other Myths’.
“Other book store events include open mics, tie-in events for the Midwest Literary walk, spooky story-telling at Halloween, hosting visiting book clubs, afternoon teas. We have even hosted a pop-up dinner,” she says.
Every month Tuplin runs an AfterHours book club at Serendipity Books, and she selects the reads.
“I often draw from current high school reads in the AP literature class (the teens have fun attending), Midwest Literary walk tie-ins, or whatever is being discussed for the Washtenaw Reads annual pick (I am on the committee).”
For more information on Serendipity Books, you can sign up for the monthly newsletter, visit the Facebook site, and go to the website:serendipity-books.com.