Longtime Geneva residents, Roxanne and Chuck Osborne, always had a love of books and bookshops, and a greater love for their family, and their Bernese Mountain dog, Harvey.
The Osbornes, along with their children, Erin and Zack, often visited independent bookstores while on vacation or in the towns close to Geneva. Robin’s Bookstore in Geneva was one of their favorites until it closed. They would browse these stores until everyone found something they liked; a book, a puzzle or something unique.
Now that their kids are grown, one living in Minneapolis and one in Chicago, with careers and busy lives of their own, Roxanne and Chuck knew it was time to think about their future.
Chuck retired from teaching science at West Chicago Middle School (now known as Lehman Middle School) in 2015 and Rox, an SVP of Operations for a real estate investment firm, retired at the end of 2018. They wanted to do something in their retirement years that kept them active in the community and gave them a sense of purpose.
Since bookshops and reading were a couple of their passions and independent bookshops naturally have a community vibe, they knew that would be their post retirement adventure and they knew just what to name it – Harvey’s Tales! They decided they would open a bookshop only if they could do it in the beautiful downtown shopping district of Geneva and only if they could own their own building. Since opportunities to buy a building in downtown Geneva don’t come along often, they were willing to wait. In early 2017 such an opportunity arose and their dream was becoming reality. That began the story of Harvey’s Tales!
The general interest, independent bookshop opened October 1, 2018 on the Osborne’s 35th anniversary, and carries new books, a giant wall scrabble game, a coffee bar, free WIFI, space for guests to sit and enjoy the atmosphere of the bookstore, and an outdoor patio also with seating.
The shop also carries a variety of gift items to go along with that special book. There are games, puzzles, candles, toys and other literary related items to explore while in the store.
The Osborne’s vision for Harvey’s Tales was to create a welcoming environment that inspires the community to come together to learn, explore, escape and relax through books and other diversions.
Unfortunately, they lost their beloved Harvey shortly after purchasing the building, but still wanted to honor him by naming the bookstore after him. Being big Bernese Mountain Dog fans, they currently own two berners, Hazel, who the children’s room is named after, and Howard, who may one day have a space in the store named after him! They hope you’ll stop by and visit the store.