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Young bibliophile lives out her passion as new bookshop owner

Morgan Guion became co-owner of Vashon Bookshop this month. - Natalie Johnson/Staff Photo
Morgan Guion became co-owner of Vashon Bookshop this month.
— image credit: Natalie Johnson/Staff Photo

Morgan Guion does not look like a business owner.

The petite woman with long henna hair, a friendly smile and a knack for books is just the person you’d love to help you find a novel at Vashon Bookshop. However, at 21 years old, she doesn’t just work at the shop, she now owns it.

Former owner Karen Barringer recently sold her share of the bookstore to Guion, who has worked at the shop since 2006 and will now manage it with co-owner Nancy Katica.

Barringer said that while Guion is young, she is confident in her ability to mange the business.

“When I was thinking about leaving and she was interested, I knew she would be an amazing fit to take over as co-owner. … She is great with responsibility and has great vision and creativity,” Barringer said.

Spend some time with Guion at the eclectic but welcoming new and used bookshop and you will come to agree. Intelligent and charismatic, bookish but trendy, she is not your average 21-year-old.

Guion, who grew up and was home-schooled on Vashon, is a self-professed autodidact and lover of books. For her, books aren’t just a job, they’re a passion.

“It gives me so much joy to be passing on stories and literature to other people,” she said.

Though she never attended college, Guion says five years working under Barringer at the bookshop have taught her what she needs to know to step into her new role.

“It kind of made sense to go directly from my own self-learning to being a business-owner,” she said.

Barringer, who opened the shop as a sole owner in 2001, said she decided to sell her half of the business so that she could pursue other opportunities.

“When I started the store, I said I was going to go 10 years and see where it takes me, and here I am. I thought it was a good time to leave,” she said.

While Barringer has no immediate career plans, she hopes to use her newfound free time to travel.

“I’m going to spend some time with my husband Don, and when we’re not at home we're going to be traveling.”

Meanwhile, Katica said she and Guion are looking forward to a new era in the bookshop

“I am thrilled with Morgan. We’re really excited. We feel we want to keep the same feeling and customer service … and bring in some new ideas,” she said.

Guion said she is still learning the ropes of business ownership but would like to one day see the book shop hold more community events, such as children's story times and author readings.

“I’m so thankful to Karen for teaching me the confidence and the business and allowing me to step up to such a big role,” she said.

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