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Couple turn hobby into their business

SHARE Couple turn hobby into their business

SPRINGVILLE -- Leaving the corporate world behind, a Springville couple has opened a new store pursuing two of their favorite interests: books and art.

Roger and Margy Layton opened The Read (pronounced red) Leaf bookstore and art gallery Jan. 30 at 164 S. Main, specializing in old books and affordable art."It's kind of a hobby turned business," Margy Layton said.

The Laytons both had parents who took them to art museums as children, and the two like to purchase original art for their own home. While traveling, they have often visited old bookstores.

"We kind of created a business upon what we spend money on," she said.

The business is concentrating on out-of-print books but also carries a limited selection of new books, including books of local interest and children's books.

"We try to find really nice hardback copies of books," Margy Layton said. "We want to focus on books that people really want to have and keep."

The Read Leaf can order any new book a customer wants as well as do searches for out-of-print books.

The Laytons have been selling books for about a year on the Internet; they currently offer about 1,600 titles on the Web. The success of this business is helping the couple ease into their retail venture.

In adding art to their business, the Laytons wanted to offer items that were affordable. Art in their store is priced at $500 or less, and all the items are originals -- no posters. Items include watercolors, pottery, drawings and handcrafted items such as handmade books and cards.

The Laytons wanted to offer a gallery that wasn't pretentious or intimidating and where people could find fun, original art.

"People shouldn't have to wonder if what they are buying is a good investment. They should feel comfortable buying something they connect with and will enjoy seeing every day," Margy Layton said.

The two admit that they are learning the art dealing business as they go but hope their naivete will help them find innovative ways to run their own store.

"If you aren't in the establishment, you kind of make up whatever works for you," she said.

Both Laytons earned master's degrees and worked in various positions in the corporate world. However, both decided they wanted to give their lives a different direction.

"Despite the incredible view of the mountains from my desk, I knew I could only put so much of my soul into marketing computer products and services," Margy Layton said.

The Laytons considered other locations for their business, including placing it near a university and catering to the student population but decided to locate in Springville because of city's reputation as the Art City.

"Springville's really poised to add lots of galleries and be a tourist destination," Margy Layton said.

Built in 1937, the building housing The Read Leaf has been renovated by the Laytons, with cozy chairs are available for customers to sit and enjoy the surroundings.

"We just want a place where people really want to spend time," she said.

The Read Leaf is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call the store at 489-1390 or visit www.readleaf.com.