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Business Beacon: Inside The Hidden Lantern

Editor’s note: This month’s Business Beacon is a spotlight on The Hidden Lantern, a family-owned bookstore in Rosemary Beach. Manager Lauren Pingree talks to us about storytime, a return to the printed word and that interesting chandelier. Find The Hidden Lantern on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and the web.

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Lauren Pingree, manager, The Hidden Lantern

1. How did you get the idea or concept for your business?

LP: We felt that Rosemary Beach needed its own bookstore. The “Hidden Lantern” was inspired by C.S. Lewis’ lamppost, found in the woods of Narnia. The ship chandelier is a nod to the Dawn Treader and the Chippendale is the enchanted wardrobe.

2. Let’s discuss numbers: What year did you open? How many locations do you have? How many people do you employ?

LP: We opened in 2011, with one location and seven employees.

3. What do you sell or what service do you provide? What’s your best seller?

LP: We sell books, puzzles, games and gifts.

The Hidden Lantern’s ship chandelier

4. What’s unique about what you do or offer?

LP: We provide a wide selection of books and games for those vacationing in the area.

5. How would you describe your business to a potential customer?

LP: We have a welcoming atmosphere that invites readers of all ages to explore and find their next great read.

6. What do you love most about your line of work?

LP: I enjoy connecting people with a great book and seeing children fall in love with reading for the first time.

7. What sorts of trends are you seeing in your industry?

LP: We are seeing customers returning to the desire to hold a book in their hands, and spend their evenings around a board game or puzzle instead of a TV screen.

8. Tell me in just a sentence or two what you feel sets you apart from your competitors.

LP: We have a selection that each one of our employees has helped curate and we are constantly adding new, exciting products! We also have a really awesome storytime, three days a week, year-round!

9. Who or what inspires you? This could be a family member or celebrity, a particular quote or even a book/movie/podcast. The sky’s the limit!

LP: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).

10. What’s the best thing about being a part of the Emerald Coast, personally and/or professionally?

LP: The beautiful beach!

11. Are you/your business involved in the community in any way? Volunteering or giving back? If so, how?

LP: We donate to the Rosemary Beach Foundation’s events and donate to local dog and cat rescues.

12. What does a typical day in your business look like? (Pretend it’s Monday (or Friday!) and take me through the highlights of your day.)

LP: We have storytime with Mary Ellen on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 10 a.m. It’s a hoot watching her engage with the kids and capture their imaginations with sound effects and tongue twisters. Parents participate as well. Throughout the day, we greet and help customers, research new book releases, order and receive products, and host author signings.

13. What’s your best “insider tip?” (This could be a community tip for vacationers or homeowners or even a tip for customers related to your business.)

LP: Call us before your visit! We can order your book, put it aside, and even offer curbside pick-up!

14. How do you recharge or relax when the day is done?

LP: I go to the beach or curl up at home with a good book, my husband, and my three dogs.

15. Just the deets, please! Where are you located? Business hours? Social media profiles and/or website links we need to know about? (Please feel free to add social media handles or direct links!)

LP: We are located at 84 N. Barrett Square in Rosemary Beach and are open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. {Find them on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and the web.}

16. One final question: If there was just one thing you wish the public knew about your business, what would it be?

LP: It is a family-owned and family-run business focused on being a light and blessing to our community through service and literature.

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