Beaver Dam may once again have a bookstore.
Broche Fabian moved to Beaver Dam from North Carolina a month ago with the goal of opening her own brick-and-mortar bookstore within a few years. She started her own River Dog Book Company over the summer and plans to have a bookmobile in place this spring.
“I always wanted to open my own store,” she said. “I’ve had plans both on paper and in the back of my head for years. I was just waiting for the right opportunity.”
Earlier this year, Mayor Becky Glewen put out a promotional flier to attract those who might want to open a bookstore in the city. The flier was picked up in the indie bookstore press. Multiple parties from different parts of the country came to tour the city and different properties.
Fabian has been in the industry for 12 years and when she visited the city, she met with Glewen and Ruth and Jim Metz, the founders of Animart, who were also hoping to build interest in a bookstore. They own a building at 116 Front St. that used to be a Book World location.
Fabian decided to make the leap and loves Beaver Dam so far. She moved here with her partner, who is from the area, and spent more of her childhood in Illinois and Indiana.
“I can become a Cheesehead; it’s fine,” Fabian said. ‘I’m not any stranger to the Midwest. I really love a lot of the Midwestern culture and environment. I’m a really outdoorsy person and so many things about Wisconsin made sense when I found out about this.”
Fabian has a full-time remote position managing a festival series. Since opening her book company online, she has built a virtual book club with hundreds of members from around the country. Now the website will transform into a bookmobile and highlight the community and programming aspects of a bookstore. Fabian said there are so many possibilities, like hosting writing classes, book fairs, working with the library to bring in authors and more.
“That way, I get to meet the community,” she said. “I get to meet the wider community of Dodge County and of south-central and southeastern Wisconsin and slowly work with the mayor, the downtown revitalization plan, Downtown Beaver Dam Inc., everyone involved in revitalizing the downtown to find the right brick-and-mortar space and make sure that it is happening in a way that fits both the community and my resources.”
At a forum for candidates in Beaver Dam’s legislative districts on Wednesday, Fabian was struck by a discussion of literacy among those who are incarcerated. She wondered if she could start literacy classes in a local prison.
“That’s how I think: Anything that happens in the community, how can books and literacy be a part of it?” she said. “The mobile unit offers me that chance and lets the community see what a bookstore can be in this place.”
As for what she reads, Fabian said “everything,” adding that she is working through a fiction book by a Wisconsin author and a nonfiction book about the Osage Native American tribe right now.
She has a master of fine arts degree in writing literature for children and has done freelance journalism. Fabian is currently shopping around a picture book, revising a young adult manuscript and working on an essay collection.
Her company’s website is at riverdogbookco.com.