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‘A vibe’: Book and plant store coming to Johnson County, in a wave of new KC bookshops

Books and plants.

Kate and Justin Wieners plan to sell them both at their new store — Monstera’s Books — coming to the old Wyldewood Cellars building in downtown Overland Park.

Books, because the two are avid readers. Kate likes fiction, Justin nonfiction. They want their little girls, 6 and 2, to fall in love with the written word, too.

And plants because, as Kate puts it, they’re “a vibe.”

Monstera’s Books will open at 7930 Floyd St., hopefully by March 1, Kate said. She wants the shop to work out its kinks before farmers market season. Their shop sits near the bustling Overland Park Farmers’ Market.

They plan to offer a little something for everyone — coffee table books, fantasy, children’s, biographies.

Their shop will sell mostly new books, with a selection of used and vintage titles collected from antique stores and estate sales. The shelves will also be filled with leafy houseplants, like the ever-popular monstera, nicknamed a Swiss cheese plant.

The two decided to name their store after the plant when Justin remarked that “Monstera” sounded like the name of an old lady who owns a bookstore.

Both are working to get the store open while holding full-time jobs, Kate in sales engineering, and Justin in marketing and web design. Together, the two have been crafting stickers, pins and other merchandise for their soon-to-be customers.

The two began dreaming of opening a bookshop after Kate started looking for a way to transition out of her current field.

“I was like, ‘I’ve been doing sales a long time. I love books. Is this a thing?’” Kate said.

She approached Justin, who agreed they should give it a shot.

Kate said she’s noticed an uptick in bookshops nationally since COVID. The lockdowns, coupled with Booktok buzz, pushed readers back into their old habits.

In October, Seven Stories opened in Shawnee at 11109 Johnson Drive, the brainchild of a 14-year-old. Under the Cover opened at 605 E. 31st St. last month, specializing in romance novels. Pretty Posy Books and Gifts plans to open soon just down the street at 7942 Santa Fe Drive.

The more stores the better, in Kate’s book.

“My stance, and I tell my husband all the time, is: The world needs more books,” Kate said.

The couple met in college at Northwest Missouri State. Kate hails from Iowa, Justin from southern Missouri. But they’ve lived in Overland Park for 10 years, not far from the evolving downtown.

It’s been fun to see the city change and take shape, Kate said. Now, she gets to be part of it by selling her favorite things.

“I love that there’s something for everyone in a book,” she said. “You can find whatever it is you want or need.”