After 30 years of running Fundamentals in downtown Delaware, Tami Furlong is selling the store to new owners.
Furlong said Monday that she decided a few months ago that it was “time to back away” and start spending more time with her family. Furlong added she started telling a few people that she was thinking about selling the store and a short time later, frequent customer Jody Everett started talking to her about buying the store from her.
“I was in here shopping and she mentioned it, and that’s all I thought about that weekend,” Everett said. “Then I called her on the following Monday. It’s not something I ever thought I would do.”
Everett said that by trade she is a speech pathologist, but language development and literacy are closely related.
“After talking, it seemed like a good fit for us,” Everett said. She added that her husband, Michael, is her partner in the business and is also excited.
Michael Everett said he was out of town when the initial conversation happened, and he said it’s all Jody wanted to talk about over the phone. Michael Everett said their family has lived in Delaware for 11 years and is excited to be a bigger part of the community.
“Part of it also is to not let another bookstore die and keep the legacy going,” he said. “(Another part of it is) to try and foster the love of reading in young children and to take a larger part and participate more in the community. It’s giving us a chance to continue something that has been an institution here for 30 years.”
Furlong said the Everetts’ enthusiasm for taking ownership of the store has encouraged her about the future of the store.
“What made me happy was that (Jody) was a really good customer,” Furlong said. “She knew what she wanted and had good taste in books. She knows what’s quality. It makes me happy that someone is here who loves quality. I feel really good about it now that I know Jody and Michael are taking over. After talking with them, it’s the right decision. This is the right time, these are the right people.”
Furlong added she’s also happy that Delaware will keep another local business.
Jody Everett said the store layout and inventory will stay the same, and the only changes will really be updating the technology in the store.
“They are bringing this store into the 21st century!” Furlong laughed.
Jody Everett said the store will change ownership officially on Nov. 1, just in time for First Friday, and Furlong said she’ll be around to help them at least through the holidays.
On Tuesday, Furlong was honored at the Willis Education Center during a visit with author David Shannon — a visit that she organized.
“We want to thank someone who is an important part of making this event happen, and an important part of making Delaware the amazing place that it is,” said Delaware City Schools Superintendent Paul Craft. “We’ve had a great partner in Fundamentals for years and years.”
Before giving a tearful Furlong a gift bag and flowers, Assistant Superintendent Heidi Kegley told the students how much Furlong and Fundamentals has meant to her and the district.
“Boys and girls, Tami was one of the first people I met when I came to Delaware 20 years ago,” Kegley said. “She’s an amazing resource for you and your families, but she also is an amazing blessing to us adults. … We just want her to know how much we love her and appreciate her, and how grateful we are for all the amazing author visits.”