If you’re familiar with downtown Colorado Springs, then you’ve probably heard of Poor Richards Bookstore. It's more than likely that you’ve spent time there, or perhaps have even sipped an espresso next door at Poor Richards Café & Wine Bar. Poor Richard’s has the charisma and charm of a Colorado Springs downtown staple, but many would be surprised to learn just how far its roots spread through the city and how much it’s impacted the community around it.
It’s amazing what an open door and few books can do when backed by the power of big dreams.
It Started Small
Meet Richard Skorman. In 1975 Skorman, was a college student at CC working at a local bookstore. When that bookstore closed, Skorman bought the remaining books and found a little space to rent downtown. He hammered together some crates, filled them with those books, and opened Poor Richards Bookstore.
“I would go early in the morning to open the shop before class and would leave a little cash box out for people so that they could make change,” recalls Skorman. “Then I’d spend my afternoons studying in the shop, and I always found that cash box fuller than I’d left it.”
Skorman had a vision for his bookstore. He wanted to create a space where people would feel welcome and comfortable spending time–a haven–and Poor Richards became just that. “It’s never been just a place to buy books, it’s always been a place where you could come be a part of the community, relax, read, sip an espresso.”
Poor Richard’s continued to grow and really did become more than a bookstore.
“We would pull down a big projector screen at night and show movies in the back with an old projector,” Skorman explains. “Bookstore by day, cinema by night!”
And not just any movies, but independent and foreign films, which Skorman just happens to be an expert on (a published author on the topic). Eventually, those movie showings became so popular he expanded into the space next door and made it a cinema, which he ultimately sold to a friend, Kimball Bayles. The name Kimball might sound familiar to locals, and that’s because Bayles later moved the cinema across the street where it became Kimball’s Twin Peaks. The old projector in the lobby at Kimball’s is the original Poor Richard's projector.
Over its many years, Poor Richard’s growth is a testament to its loyal customers and welcoming atmosphere. As Skorman and his wife, Patricia, sought to cater to the community even further, they expanded the Poor Richard’s brand by opening Rico’s Café & Wine Bar, Poor Richard’s Restaurant and Little Richard’s Toy Store.
“Our success is really a product of our supportive local community and loyal following; we love giving back to Colorado Springs.”
Facebook + Instagram: @PoorRichardsDowntown