ROCKFORD, Illinois (WIFR) – Dave Pedersen, who has worked in multiple jobs in a variety of industries, is back home with a fascination with writing and reading. Dave’s latest adventure is located in downtown Rockford, and we encourage you to enter with an open mind and seek out your latest reading.
Pedersen is familiar with the sound of turning pages and the smell of old, vintage and first edition books. Now, this is his home. Rockford, his hometown, has spent years moving from job to job, most recently serving as the volunteer director for the Manteno Veterans Home. Back in June, he opened Maze Books on Third Street in downtown Rockford.
“I went back to Rockford and saw a renaissance of downtown arts and culture, but no bookstore. In my opinion and many others, it’s impossible to have a downtown without a good independent bookstore. Not including literature is not There may be an artistic renaissance,” Pederson said.
The Guildford alumnus followed in the military footsteps of his father and grandfather, serving his country in South Korea and Germany. Injuries forced him to leave the military and start another career and direction. He said: “Even though I had a ticket to go anywhere I wanted, for some reason I chose Rockford because that’s what I knew. There’s so much to see, write about, and do Talking about, pretty much all of this work and all of these experiences got me where I am today.”
He likes to brag about his community, saying Rockford embraces its working-class roots and embraces everyone. “If you go to Chicago, you have it. You have that Carl Sandburg street feel. But here, it’s more involved. It doesn’t matter where you come from. If you walk into an art gallery , bookstore or anywhere downtown, no matter what your background, no matter who you are, you are part of this community. It wouldn’t be as vibrant without it.”
Maze Books has over 10,000 books on its shelves. The store itself will be a space for people to read, relax and collaborate. Most of the books in the store are used with collectibles, sometimes in rotation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he left public service to pursue his passion for reading, writing, and more. The store is where he pursues his new passion and says it’s a demand that Rockford hasn’t had in years, hoping to spread it to Stateliners everywhere.
Dave said: “There is no place like this anywhere I’ve been. I’ve been to South Korea, Germany, the Czech Republic and Amsterdam. Really, I’ve been everywhere. I’ve never seen someone as down-to-earth or kind as Rockford. People. The best part about Rockford is the people.”
Dave also told 23 News that he cleans every book in his collection so that when customers pick them up, they look brand new.
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