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Under Charlie’s Covers opens in new location

Lara Harrison, owner of Under Charlie’s Covers, stands in front of just a few of the nearly 50,000 used books her Bernalillo store offers. (Antonio Sanchez/Rio Rancho Observer)

Lara Harrison, owner of Under Charlie’s Covers, stands in front of just a few of the nearly 50,000 used books her Bernalillo store offers. (Antonio Sanchez/Rio Rancho Observer)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Growing up, Lara Harrison and her family moved a lot.

But one thing, she said, always remained the same: Her father would build book shelves wherever they would go.

Years later, and with children of her own, Harrison celebrated the reopening of her used book store, having relocated the store for the third time.

A celebratory red ribbon-cutting was held in Bernalillo recently at Under Charlie’s Covers newest store, located at 160 S. Camino del Pueblo. The 3,000-square-foot location has three employees and houses nearly 50,000 used books.

Harrison, who first opened Under Charlie’s Covers at another Bernalillo location in 2006, said she first got the idea to open the store after her father passed away 13 years ago, leaving her 18,000 of his hardcover books.

“He just loved books,” she said. “He talked about opening up a used book store when he retired, but he didn’t get to and that’s why we decided to – he was going to call it Under the Covers.”

Harrison said she decided to name the store after her father, Charles.

Under Charlie’s Covers features a number of used books, from educational and children’s books to a wide history of popular works of fiction.

Authors like Leslie Ernenwein and her brand of cowboy fiction receive the same shelf space as contemporary young adult writers, like J. K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins. Other than a small dedicated section in nearby Hastings, Under Charlie’s Covers is the only used book store in Sandoval County, she said.

“Used book stores are just a treasure trove because you never know what you’re going to find in a used book store,” Harrison said. “Every used book store is different.”

The new location also sells a few new books, she said, with the store working in collaboration with class curriculums at Bernalillo High School.

“The kids in the (advanced placement) classes have to buy their own books because they have to annotate them … We never have enough used copies to outfit a whole class, so I started supplementing,” she said. “Especially in this area, it’s so much more convenient for the parents to come here than to drive over to Albuquerque.”

Since opening almost 10 years ago, Under Charlie’s Covers has seen a steady growth in loyal customers. Harrison said Rio Rancho, Bernalillo and Placitas have a number of avid readers, and their support shows: Even as some book readers have made the transition to e-readers, customers make the effort to continue to stop by and purchase from the store.

“A lot of our customers have e-readers, but they buy books as well,” she said. “I think e-readers are great for travelling, but people still like to have a physical book in their hands.”

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