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posted: 2/24/2014 5:00 AM

Twin sisters continue to improve Elgin Books And Coffee

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An interview with twin sisters Herminda Spencer and Glorinda Theofanis, owners of Elgin Books And Coffee in Elgin.

Q: Describe your business. What do you do?

A: Our business is called "Elgin Books And Coffee." Our inventory includes a large selection of used books, bookends, art work and more. We also offer espresso drinks, coffee, snacks and cold drinks in a cozy cafe area with free Wi-Fi in historic downtown Elgin. Our address is 66 S. Grove Ave. We back up to the newly constructed River Walk Promenade. The store was opened by sisters Glorinda Theofanis and Herminda Spencer in 2005 and recently moved to our present location.

Q: What made you start your business?

A: The reason for opening the store was a passion for books and the desire to be part of the community with the product that brings a wide range of people with an array of interests together. We attract young and old as well as artists, musicians, technicians, politician and more.

Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting a small business?

A: The most difficult obstacle has been building a customer base which is sufficient to run the operation and knowing what additional products will attract new customers. Also, cost control has been another issue with prices going up all around us.

Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?

A: What we enjoy most about our business is meeting a wide range of people from all over the world especially our Fox River area.

Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: We never pictured ourselves specifically owning a bookstore. But we did have a strong interest in retail, people and books so Elgin Books was born.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: What keeps us up at night is how to keep our business growing with new innovations and ideas.

Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?

A: Our one tip to a rookie business owner is work in the field of the area that you are planning to open your business and get a grasp of potential problems and ups and downs. Then decide if that is the way you would like to go. Also, if your business will be retail, make sure you are a people person and keep smiling.

• Every Monday we feature a small, suburban business. We want to hear about yours. Contact Kim Mikus at kmikus@dailyherald.com.

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