“I Was Homeless.” A Bookstore Owner Writing Her Own Future in Muskegon

MUSKEGON, Mich. (June 11, 2014) – From losing her home and battling addiction to owning her own bookstore.  It’s a life journey Cindy Thoma never envisioned for herself.

She said the work she’s doing now saved her life and helps her heal everyday.

“This is it,” said Cindy showing us around the store.  “Gracie’s Bookstore.  It’s named after my mom, my daughter, and my granddaughter.  Therefore by the grace of God I go.”

Cindy said if her life were a book this would be the good part.  This chapter started in September but like most stories there were dark obstacles to overcome.

In 2004, she was hit by a drunk driver which resulted in nine surgeries over eight years.

“Fusions in my neck and spine, wires, batteries, and cadaver bones and I have a nuero-stimulator,” she said.

She said the painkillers helped her get through at first but soon became an addiction.  Cindy said eventually she lost her job due to time missed from work.

“I was homeless, stayed with a friend that I was blessed to have because I had no income for awhile,” she said.

Books became her escape, “I could read at least I could do something to entertain my time because I got bored and went through depression.”

Cindy said she would go to the bookstore as a customer at first but when the previous owner was looking to sell the store Cindy struck a deal.

“My goal is to get enough funding to pay rent and the bills that’s it,” she said.

Cindy 80% of the books on the shelves are donated and now she’s trying to pay it forward.

“I do it as a community service project which means I can give away book, make-up low prices,” she said.

She’s aware the story of a second-hand bookstore usually doesn’t end well these days but has faith her story will have a different ending.

“I’ve never been so happy, ever,” she said.

Gracie’s bookstore can be found on Lakeshore Dr. in Muskegon right next to the historic Harbor Cinema.  Not only is Cindy the owner but she is also the sole employee.

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