Lion’s Mouth Bookstore now open downtown
By Ben Rodgers
GREEN BAY – With a name dating back to Benjamin Franklin, Lion’s Mouth Bookstore is ready to help all people discover the joys of getting lost in a captivating book.
“He brought the concept of the public library to the U.S. from Europe and started a library called Library Company, which still exists in Philadelphia,” said Amy Mazzariello, Lion’s Mouth owner. “It’s kind of like the Smithsonian now. It’s a house for scholars, holds a lot of historical documents, but at the time they had placed a tin at the counter that was basically a suggestion box for titles gentlemen wanted to see at the library, and on that tin there was a crude lion painted on, and his mouth was where you put the slit of paper.”
Mazzariello is no stranger to independent bookstores, having worked the last 13 years at Reader’s Loft in Bellevue.
Her goal is to bring that same atmosphere to Lion’s Mouth, located at 401 N. Washington in downtown Green Bay.
Being an independent bookstore gives Mazzariello more autonomy for things like ordering and displaying books and bringing in events.
“We do everything from cleaning the cat box (Greta is the store cat), to hanging the lightbulbs, to ordering books, we do everything,” she said.
Since opening last week, Mazzariello has also been reunited with some faithful Reader’s Loft customers and picked up right where she left off.
“One of the nice things about independent bookstores is the people that appreciate them become your regulars,” she said. “I have customers that I’ve been working with for 13 years, and I know generally what they like to read. So when I’m looking through a catalog, because we order books on a quarterly basis, I can say ‘Jane would like that book’ and I can order that for her. A lot of times you’ll forget you put that book out for a person and then they’ll come to the counter with it and it’s like, ‘Yeah I ordered that for you.’”
Mazzariello said big book retailers have tables and displays set up to exact corporate standards.
“Rather than having the bookstore dictate what the customer wants, it’s sort of the other way around for us,” she said. “It’s not a perfect model, but there’s more attention paid to the curating of a store that reflects the people that shop in it.”
An avid reader herself, and currently enjoying four books, Mazzariello is also there to help customers find their next great read.
Plus, Lion’s Mouth buys and sells used books, with used books worth store credit.
As a board member for the Untitled Town book festival, Mazzariello also wants Lion’s Mouth to be a place where book lovers can get together, hear from authors and discuss their favorite reads in a setting more social than the Good Reads app.
“A big part of our mission is to have the festival exist in the downtown-Green Bay footprint, which meant we couldn’t host events at the Reader’s Loft because it was in Bellevue,” she said. “So that’s a great added bonus to this space because it’s literally in the festival footprint.”
Lion’s Mouth has a book club, monthly poetry readings, writers groups, author events and more.
The store is also collecting children’s books for the Brown County Library’s Give-A-Kid-A-Book campaign this winter.
Lion’s Mouth is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information on groups, author visits, programs and to see what’s in stock, visit lionsmouthbookstore.com or find the store on Facebook and Instagram.