BUTTE - It takes a tremendous amount of dedication and courage to renovate a 120-year-old building and put a bookstore in, but for one Uptown Butte entrepreneur, it’s a passion project they believe in.
“I’m loving every minute of it, even getting up on the scaffolding and scrubbing the ceiling. It’s still fun. It’s an odd fun, but it’s fun,” said Isle of Books owner Medellee Antonioli.
Antonioli is relocating the Books and Books store from its longtime spot at West Park a few blocks over to East Broadway in the former Southern Hotel building that was built in the 1890s. She plans to sell about 100,000 titles of new and used books and open a coffee shop next door.
Antonioli said she’s excited to be part of Butte’s historic Uptown and to renovate a piece of Butte history.
“The walls speak to you when you walk in and that appeals to me because I’m in the business that sells stories. And what better place to do it than a building that houses so many stories?”
“The walls speak to you when you walk in and that appeals to me because I’m in the business that sells stories. And what better place to do it than a building that houses so many stories?” said Antonioli.
Her dream was almost derailed by tragedy earlier this year. As she was about to purchase the building in late March, her husband unexpectedly died at the early age of 36. Though devastated, she refused to let this stop her from pursuing her goal.
“That would be doing my husband a disservice, that would be doing my kids a disservice. I am so lucky to get to do this and, you know, there’s literally – I mean, I don’t want to get upset now – but this place it holds my tears too, and my process and my grief, and now that’s part of its history,” she said.
Walk down just about any street in Uptown Butte and you’ll notice some kind of construction project going on. It’s almost as if the iron in Uptown is hot and it’s time to strike.
“I cannot wait to see what Uptown is going to be like in a year. It’s only going to improve. I already love it, but it’s only going to improve, it’s only going to have more businesses,” said Antonioli.