Thursday, June 20, 2013

Small Shop First Stop

Kelowna is celebrating Small Shop Saturday on the 22nd and I have a suggestion for your first stop of the day.  Pulp Fiction Coffee House covers the northwest corner of Pandosy and Lawrence and has been open since August last year. Its hours are 7 to 10 Monday to Saturday and 9 to 9 on Sundays. 

It recently made the short list on the Capital News "best of" issue in the categories "Best place for a first date" and "Best Coffee House".  They have my vote for both. 

Nestled within the coffee shop you will find Robbie Rare Books, accessible through an iron gate that is almost always open. Robbie is the mild mannered standard poodle and CEO that greets you in the doorway.   The eclectic collection of books, magazines, comics, posters and collectables are curated by Kelowna resident Max Sloan.  

I love that this place is locally owned and what a fitting name for the owner of a store that sells paperbacks by the likes of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.  Max Sloan sounds like the perfect prickly detective with a weakness for dames in trouble. In reality Mr. Sloan is a very knowledgeable, generous and helpful man.  His weakness appears to be books...besides the hundreds you can find on the walls and every available surface in Robbie's Rare Books, he admitted  to having two warehouses filled with just as many.

The books aren't just pulp fiction tiles from the 50's they also include many of your favourite classics, some in near perfect condition.

Check out these beautiful early editions of Anne of Green Gables.  $1,000 for the middle one which has the dust jacket  and shows the cover as very well preserved compared to the blue one priced at $200.

This one's for you Mrs. Pear Tree.  The House at Pooh Corner is under glass, so it must be a good one!

Though many collectors will turn aside a book with an inscription, I find they add character and spark the imagination.  You never know what you might discover. When Max opened this book to show me the hand written message, a gift tag fell out.  I imagine it was used as a bookmark, and added a little more mystery to the story of the journey that brought it here.

$2,000 Edgar Allan Poe

Torrid romances...

The books are both fiction and non-fiction, all giving you a peek into our checkered  past. "The World of Wit and Humour", published in the early 1900's was instructive and amusing.  The complaint about women taking too long to get ready in "Things Which No Young Lady Ever Does If She Can Help It" was re-iterated by Jerry Seinfeld at his recent gig in Kelowna when he described what "I'll be ready in five minutes" really means - plus ça change! And speaking of Seinfeld, he picked up an Ice Mocha from the coffee shop while he was here.

Between the books on the shelves and tables you'll also find some great Victorian and Georgian antiques along with some fabulous art deco items.

Art Deco 


Outside the inner sanctum, the walls of the coffee house are lined with books and 50's Pulp Fiction posters. Well thumbed paperbacks are for sale for as little as fifty cents.  Max told me he doesn't mind if people just read them while they're here and put them back.  If you don't want to read a book, there are two computers available and if you've brought your lap top, there's free wifi, and tables with handy outlets to charge both laptop and cell phone batteries. The coffee house also has some tasty options for snacks and lunch.  I enjoyed a delicious Irish stew here a few weeks ago.

There's lots going on at Pulp Fiction, so check out their Facebook page to see what's coming up next. Most events are free with purchase. Singer/songwriter Emily Rowed will perform on June 26th.  I hope I can attending the New Vintage Theatre's reading of Confessions of A Paperboy on June 25th.  I was sorry to miss their reading of The Glass Menagerie in May.  The June show is their last of the season so if I miss this one too, I'll have to wait until the Fall.  Don't miss it!


  1. Oh, thanks for bringing this to my attention. Very tantalizing. I haven't been yet, but I'm planning to spend at least some time every morning for a week there in July, while the kids are in art class at the KAG. I can't remember the dates off the top of my head, but maybe one of the mornings we could meet up for coffee and a little book talk ;-) Lemme know...