Dudley’s Bookshop Transformation



Survival of the fittest seems to be the strategic phrase with most independent bookstores in these tough times, with another indie shop in Bend, Between The Covers, vanishing recently.

But a lively literary oasis known as Dudley’s Bookshop Café on Minnesota Avenue hopes to stand victorious, evolving into a relaxing local destination, a coffee shop with books rather than a bookshop with coffee.

Can it work? Time will tell.

Owners Rebecca and Bob Singer take a certain personal pride in its recent transformation and rebirth.

“When you come into Dudley’s we want you to feel like you’re stepping back in time, a home away from home,” said Rebecca Singer, who took over this spring for original owner Terri Crumbie. “It’s a slower, friendlier pace than a larger, big box retailer. A lot of people like to meet friends here because of its warm, living room feel. Dudley’s kind of has a gentle soul to me.”

Besides a full menu of caffeinated java wonders, the counters are crammed with home-baked gourmet muffins smartly dressed in vanilla/chocolate or blueberry, cinnamon caramel coffee cake and pineapple coconut cupcakes. Dudley’s also serves up an all-star lineup of local micro-brew beers and intriguing Oregon wines.

Singer hails from the green gardens of Kent, England and has lived in Bend since 2008.

“Since I’m English I like to incorporate some of my family heritage into my baking. We have Cornish pasties and English scones with Devonshire cream and jam and every second Sunday I do a full afternoon tea that is very popular here.”

“I worked here for two years and started out doing the baking and over the course of the last year we added a bakery display case. My husband, Bob, and I took over ownership the first of April. He takes care of all the finances and I do everything else. A lot of our business is meeting groups and clubs, everything from knitting and spiritual awareness to nutrition forum gatherings.

“We’re also trying to increase our lunch crowd and now have home-cooked soups, quiches and pasties.”

Staring down a challenging economic climate with simple optimism and unblinking determination, Dudley’s is ramping up the old-fashioned charm and hospitality, insisting on becoming a hometown favorite for gently-used books, caffeinated beverages, free Wi-Fi, local author talks and engaging live music.

Once Singer and her husband purchased the cozy literary nook they immediately set about sprucing the place up with some basic changes to enhance its appeal.

Outside on the sidewalk, cherry-red tables and bright flowers offer a relaxing spot to sip hot mochas and drink up afternoon sunbeams.

Inside, Singer has done a little spring cleaning to wipe away clutter and allow for a brighter, more inviting environment.

Gone are the narrow rows of claustrophobic bookcases in the center of the room, replaced with clean pine tables and plush couches, the better to submerge into the pages of a newly-purchased gem or to absorb the soothing notes of a bluegrass Americana band or intimate tones of their signature grand piano.

“A lot of people know us for the piano and that’s been a perpetual fixture here. So many customers come in and just start playing and it’s wonderful. We’re going to have a great lineup of music all summer long. There’s a Celtic jam every third Friday of the month where local musicians, from cellists, guitarist, fiddlers and harpists pop in and play. It’s fantastic.”

Lining the walls downstairs and upstairs is the same extensive inventory of used books in hardcover and paperback Dudley’s is known for, eclectic selections in every imaginable genre.

“We’re one of the last independent booksellers in Bend. They’re the life’s blood of a community,” said the amiable bookseller and barista. “So many readers have a Kindle or a Nook but there’s still nothing like the feeling of having a real book in your hand.”

Dudley’s Bookshop Café is located at 135 NW Minnesota Avenue between Wall and Bond. They’re open Monday-Thursday 9am to 6pm, Fridays until 9pm and weekends until 5pm. For more info on special events and a monthly music schedule visit them on Facebook or call 541-749-2010.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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