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Becky Jorgensen carries a box while walking down the hallway at Becky’s Bookshelf on Wednesday

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After more than two decades of sharing the written word with Cache Valley, Becky Jorgensen is looking to close the final chapter on her passion project — Becky’s Bookshelf.

“The book business has never been an occupation where you earn a lot of money,” Jorgensen said. “For most of those years I did it out of love.”

For Jorgensen, three issues lead to her decision to close the store: the COVID-19 pandemic, an ever-rising rent and personal health issues.

“When we went through the pandemic I closed down for almost three months and I lost a lot of money during that time,” Jorgensen said, explaining that since then the building’s landlord has again raised the rent.

What’s more, Jorgensen said the business along with worsening health issues — specifically, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue — are affecting her ability to spend time with her children and grandchildren.

“I have literally no life other than being here and doing this, and then I go home and collapse. And so it’s come time where I need to be able to go home,” Jorgensen said, explaining 16 hour days in the store have been common. “I don’t even have the energy to see them — I can’t handle it.”

For months, Jorgensen was hopeful she could pass the business along to another person — someone who loved the customers and the books as much as she did.

“But that wasn’t happening, and I just got to the point where I needed to get out and close down,” Jorgensen said. “It’s been rather hard the last week to see customers come in and get all teary because it makes me cry, too.”

Though Jorgensen’s retirement is definite, all hope for the bookstore is not lost. Jorgensen said a customer launched a crowdfunding campaign to help the store with the raising rent. And another customer — a retired teacher and “big reader,” according to Jorgensen — expressed interest in continuing on with the store in Jorgensen’s place.

If a new owner was willing to step in, Jorgensen said she would show them the ropes while she segued into higher quality time with her family.

“But that’s still up in the air,” she said.

Jorgensen said the store’s bills had been paid through the month of October. How far the store goes after that depends on potential ownership changes and the crowdfunding campaign. But whatever the future holds for the store front, Jorgensen said she will still continue with her online book sales.

“I have a storage unit full of books waiting to be listed on Amazon,” Jorgensen said. “I’ve even got four large bookshelves in my kitchen, because we’ve got over 3,000 books just for Amazon … if there’s ever an earthquake, all the bookshelves are going to hold up my house.”

Originally known as the Logan Book Exchange, Jorgensen purchased the bookstore in the early fall of 2001. After the 9/11 attacks, Jorgensen’s husband was activated in the U.S. Army, and the new business owner was forced to split her time between Arizona and Cache Valley — eventually moving to Arizona semi-permanently so their kids could be closer to their father.

“I had a friend who came up and took over the bookstore while I was gone, but I would come up every summer and spend the summers here (working in the store),” Jorgensen said with a laugh. “I put a lot of miles on my car.”

Since he’s retired to part-time, Jorgensen said she was grateful for her husband’s help in the store as well as his support over the years.

“My husband’s really been a stalwart,” Jorgensen said. “He’s spent an awful lot of his days here helping me as well. … He’s been great.”

Jorgensen shared her appreciation for customers, “wonderful volunteers” and the books themselves that helped make the store what it is.

“This is my home away from home. In fact, it’s sometimes even more of a retreat because I’m so familiar with everything in here and I’ve created a lot,” Jorgensen said. “And so, it was my heart.”

Becky’s Bookshelf is located at 29 West 100 North in Logan. For more information, visit www.gofundme.com/save-beckys-bookshelf or visit Becky’s Bookshelf on Facebook.

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