Make us your home page

After nearly 38 years, Dade City's Book Shack remains a family operation

Kristy Kassabaum, right, bought The Book Shack from Jo Kassabaum, her grandmother-in-law.

Phyllis Day | Special to the Times

Kristy Kassabaum, right, bought The Book Shack from Jo Kassabaum, her grandmother-in-law.

DADE CITY — A year ago, Jo Kassabaum contemplated closing the Book Shack, a small store she had owned since she opened it in 1979.

The bookstore was suffering after nearby Pasco Motors closed. Also, after nearly 37 years, she frankly was growing tired of running a full-time business. But when she told family members of her plans to close the business, Kassabaum was met with opposition.

"I told Grandma she wasn't allowed to go out of business," said Kristy Kassabaum, her granddaughter-in-law.

Instead, the younger Kassabaum purchased the business and in October, when the Book Shack celebrated its 37th year in business, moved the store to its newest location — on Seventh Street, between Williams/Lunch on Limoges and Kiefer Village Jewels.

The ownership change — along with the move — has proven successful.

Today, the Book Shack is thriving under the younger Kassabaum's ownership. The move farther downtown was a good one, as the store is more in the center of walking traffic.

The busy mother of two young children and an instructional coach at Pasco Middle School admits she was a bit apprehensive at first about purchasing the business. She wondered if she could compete with online sites such as Amazon and big-box bookstores like Barnes & Noble. But she said each day there's at least one new customer who walks through the doors, if only for the novelty of seeing a bookstore.

"It's rare to see nowadays," Kristy Kassabaum said.

The change also works well for the elder Kassabaum. Although the original plan was to only stay on until June, she has decided to continue to work as a part-time employee.

"As the time (to leave) was getting closer, I realized I didn't want to go," said Jo Kassabaum. "I enjoy it."

The Book Shack has an inventory of about 60,000 used books, all organized by theme (new releases, science fiction, inspirational fiction, religion, horror, historical and others). There also is a selection of new books and children's toys and activity sets.

Customers can spend hours perusing the books. Or, if there's a specific book a customer wants, it can be quickly found. If it isn't available, the book can be ordered.

Margaret Norman, who recently stopped in to trade in books she had recently read for some new selections, said she has been patronizing the Book Shack for more than 20 years. It's worth the drive from her home west of Bushnell.

"Most times, they have the books I want," Norman said. "Whether it's a series or a historical book I like, I know (Jo) will have it."

As the Book Shack nears its 38th year in business, Jo Kassabaum said she has seen three generations of customers at the store, even a few fourth generation.

"They aren't just customers," she said. "They are family."

>>fast facts

The store is at 14145 Seventh St. in downtown Dade City. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Send email to or call (352) 567-5001.

After nearly 38 years, Dade City's Book Shack remains a family operation 07/17/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 5:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO


    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Roger Berdusco is stepping down as CEO at Triad Retail Media to pursue other opportunities. [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  2. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

    Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 4th Ave. N in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]
  3. AAA expects gas prices in Tampa Bay will continue to fall


    Ticking slowly and steadily, regular gas prices have receded for the last 10 consecutive days. The average unleaded gas price in Florida is $2.67 this morning, a nickel cheaper than a week ago. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas has dropped 7 cents from a week ago to $2.62. The national average for regular …

    Gas prices for regular gas continue to decline. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas is down 7 cents from a week ago at $2.62 a gallon. [Times file photo]
  4. Kiran and Pallavi Patel commit $200 million for Clearwater medical school

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Tampa Bay philanthropists Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr. Pallavi Patel are spending $200 million to create and promote a Tampa Bay regional campus for the private Nova Southeastern University.

    Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, prolific Tampa Bay philanthropists, are putting up $200 million to create and run a new medical school under Nova Southeastern University. Here is a rendering of the proposed campus [Courtesy of Southestern Noval University}
  5. USF to rename sports management program for Vinik family


    The University of South Florida will name a business program for the Vinik family at a Tuesday event.

    Tampa Bay Lightning owner and chairman Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, in 2010.