Popular children's bookstore in Oakley in danger of closing

A popular and colorful children's bookstore in Oakley is in danger of closing. (WKRC)

OAKLEY, Ohio (WKRC) - A popular and colorful children's bookstore in Oakley is in danger of closing.

The Blue Manatee Children's Bookstore has enlightened and educated youngsters and parents for the past 29 years, and now there's an effort underway to keep the doors open.

Usually, when you hear of a store closing, it's because the store isn't doing well, but that's not the case with Blue Manatee, which is a successful business. The owner, Dr. John Hutton, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, says he can't devote the time necessary to keep the store running.

Hutton is hoping to find an owner, manager and operator to keep the business going and to devote time to being in the store, because this is more than just a store.

"Blue Manatee has always been, at least for me and my family, more of a community place where you can come and read books with your kids; you can come and have story time and meet other people, and we have activities where you have opportunities to meet authors and illustrators. We've done so much to engage the community with literacy, so we're really hoping that that won't go away," said store manager Kelli Gleiner.

Samantha Mahan is a nanny and brings the children she watches to Blue Manatee. She says the children always love going to the bookstore.

"I love it. There's story time and a really great selection of local books and lots of really cool stuff," said Mahan. "It was a route on our winter path. We would go for walks and stop in here along the way, and, you know, have a warm spot to stop and read some books and hang out."

Gleiner says they're optimistic about finding a new owner. It's the only store in Cincinnati that is a children's books-only store.

While the bookstore's last day is now set for Jan. 14, if negotiations with a new owner are still under way, that date could be pushed back to allow the talks to continue.

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