If you know Spokane well, you know there is a lot more to it than initially meets the eye. Boo Radley’s and Atticus Coffee are two iconic places perfect for meeting an old friend, showing a family member around or just general perusing. The sister stores, owned by Kris and Andy Dinnison, show a unique side to Spokane that connects and extends past neighboring storefronts.
Upon visiting Giant Nerd books just a few minutes from Boo Radley's and Atticus on north Monroe Street, it is easy to believe the Dinnisons are friends with the owner Nathan Huston. GNB sells a distinctive collection ranging from used books to specimens of science, natural history and art. The store is the result of Huston turning a passion — collecting books and odd art — into a profession.
“I gave up my day job in 2005 and began selling books on my own full-time,” said Huston.
It was important that he be his own boss, so in 2013 he opened up his own shop.
Huston describes the general theme of GNB as “underground eclectic” and sets up at antique book fairs to look for merchandise. Within that "underground eclectic," books authored by Kurt Vonnegut are by far the best sellers.
“As long as it’s not held together with duct-tape and rubber bands, I’ll take all the Vonnegut I can get," said Huston.
Books that Huston collects can be found on the shelves of the two stores owned by the Dinnisons in a partnership that meshes well with their personal relationships. After 30 years of friendship between the three, Kris Dinnison explained that partnering was “a natural fit” when Huston began to sell his collection.
By working together and directing customers to local shops, Huston discourages big business.
“The mall doesn’t exist in this dojo," said Huston.
The “symbiotic relationship” that Dinnison describes between them and Huston and other small businesses in Spokane shows a rather unique trademark of the city — the ability for a rapidly growing city to maintain its small town community feel.
"It’s important that neighbors be neighborly,” said Dinninson.
So if you're looking for a new place to show your family and friends, GNB is just around the corner.