Vadnais Heights resident Sue Costello has dreamed — literally — about having her own bookstore since she was a child.

She remembers vivid dreams in the night that led her to where she and her fiancé Rick Gahm are today — the grand opening of Winding Trail Books in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul on June 18.

“Ever since I was little, I loved books,” Costello said. “I'd spend hours in the library.” She ran her own day care for 15 years before deciding to make a go of starting a bookstore. Gahm has been self-employed and had his own mortgage company. Costello and Gahm have lived in the Vadnais Heights/White Bear Lake area for about 25 years. They've been working towards their dream of having a business together for about two years.

They found the perfect spot in the Courtyard Shoppes at Milton Square. The more than 100-year-old buildings create a fairy-tale scene.

“It looks like it's out of a storybook,” Costello said. “Like they plucked it out of a scene of Grimms' Fairy Tales.” Inside, the shop will be painted with whimsical murals by artist and children's illustrator Shawn McCann.

The buildings were built in the early 1900s as shops with apartments above, said owner Heather O'Malley. They were on the streetcar route. Today, 13 businesses rent space.

Costello and Gahm named their store Winding Trail Books to remember the time they spent on long walks talking about their dreams to own a book and gift store. The store’s logo has a red-winged blackbird, which they often saw and heard on their walks.

The bookstore will offer books for all ages as well as unique gifts, such as wooden Pinocchios made in Italy by Bartolucci, a family-run business that has stores in Urbino, Rome and Florence. Shoppers will also be able to find consigned art.

Costello and Gahm will sponsor Lori and Julia’s book club from My Talk 107.1 radio station and sell the books they review at the store.

Other plans include holding children’s book events regularly at the store. Costello has a particular eye for children’s books; she created her own day care curriculum and found books to go with it.

“The community really wanted children’s books,” Gahm noted. Winding Trail Books hopes to be involved in the community and partner with the library and senior facilities. “We like the small-town atmosphere,” Gahm said.

Opening weekend includes book signings and music. On July 18, Author Amy Pendino will hold a book signing for the “The Witness Tree.” On July 19, Author Lorna Landvik will sign books for “Chronicles of a Radical Hag” and “Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons.”

The Minnesota Raptor Center will visit on July 20. Jay Calk from the Church of Cash band will also play. The store is located at 2230 Carter Ave., Suite 8. For more information, visit

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