Fable Book Parlour opens new chapter for Revelstoke’s creative community

After retiring the Fable Bookmobile for the summer, Fable Book Parlour is welcoming readers, writers, and musicians alike to its new location, complete with a stage for live performances.

The Fable Book Parlour team, from left to right: Allie Bruni-Riendeau, Stacy Batchelor, Kristin Olsen. Photo contributed by Allie Bruni-Riendeau

“What’s a town without a bookstore?”

That is the question behind Revelstoke’s newest retail addition, according to co-owner Allie Bruni-Riendeau.

Fable Book Parlour opened its brick-and-mortar location on Sept. 25, shortly after closing the Fable Bookmobile for the summer. Located at 311 First Street West, the bookstore also sells music equipment, records, and CDs. Additionally, the space boasts a stage for live music and spoken word performances. This points to Fable’s overall mission: fostering an environment for inspiration and connection.

Allie Bruni-Riendeau takes a moment to enjoy the sunshine in front of Fable Book Parlour. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton

Behind the bookstore are co-owners Allie Bruni-Riendeau, Stacy Batchelor and Kristin Olsen. As explained Bruni-Riendeau, there is more to Revelstoke than the town’s reputation as a haven for sports and the outdoors.

“There is so much creativity and so many talented artists, so much more than just sports,” says Bruni-Riendeau, while acknowledging that many athletes also dip into creative endeavors. “We want to foster the creative spirit, be it reading, writing, or art, [by] carrying books that inspire people to be creative.”

Turning the page for a new business

When Grizzly Books & Serendipity Shop closed in January 2021, it left Revelstoke without a place to browse bookshelves and paw through pages.

A reading nook nestled into the entrance. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton

This summer, Batchelor, Olsen and Bruni-Riendeau opened up the Fable Bookmobile; a trailer-turned-bookstore that served new reading material to the streets of Revelstoke.

Although the co-owners shared similar circles within the arts community, they come from different disciplinary backgrounds. This allowed the trio to form a “unique partnership where we all have different skillsets and strengths,” Bruni-Riendeau describes.

Bruni-Riendeau refers to the Bookmobile as the “first chapter” of their business plan. It was a temporary solution during the warmer months, and when a permanent space opened up, the trio began writing their second chapter.

“We are handpicking every single new book that we carry,” Bruni-Riendeau notes; adding that their different interests and backgrounds allow for a wider curated variety on their shelves.

Passerby peek into the new storefront next to the parked Bookmobile. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton

Eventually, Fable Book Parlour’s “third chapter” will include serving coffee, tea and pastries. While keeping the menu simple, the owners are focused on building a welcoming environment.

“We’re not going to be The Modern and we’re not going to be Dose,” Bruni-Riendeau explains. “We want everybody to feel welcome and encouraged to browse, to sit, to enjoy coffee and a book, to come hear live music, to share their poetry, or to share their unwritten novel.”

Reintroducing live performances in a safe indoor environment

As a musician herself, Bruni-Riendeau is passionate about creating an inclusive environment for artists to connect. Beyond being a “hub” for supplies, Fable Book Parlour also has a stage to share creative projects.

“It’s so different playing online or streaming or whatever it is, you need that connection,” she explains. “There’s nothing like playing in front of people, whether it’s a small space that can handle a small capacity or a big venue. It lights you up from the inside.”

A stage is nestled behind the bookshelves, eagerly awaiting musicians and poets. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton

Although pandemic restrictions mean smaller, mask-clad audiences, Fable Book Parlour is continuing to host live shows. Written work, like spoken word poetry, is also encouraged.

“There hasn’t been much of an opportunity in Revelstoke to really promote poetry and readings and spoken word,” Bruni-Riedeau adds. “We’re really hoping that is something that people are drawn to, and want to donate their words to.”

By providing a space for like-minded individuals to connect, whether through books or music, Bruni-Riedeau hopes to heal some of the tension over the past year.

“What these walls provide is a safe space to come in and talk to us about books or music. Let us inspire you,” she explains. “Whatever side you’re on, we’ve all been through a lot together.”

Kicking off the live music, Fable Book Parlour is hosting their first Parlour Session on Oct. 2 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is by donation but capacity is limited, so make sure to snag your seats early.