Interview with the Daisy Chain Book Co.
Interview and photos by Caitlin Stratton
One of my favourite treasures in Edmonton is Daisy Chain Book Co. The bookshop is a heartwarming, welcoming place run by Brandi Morpurgo, offering much more than just books. I visited this October and sat down with Brandi to discuss her bookselling journey, Daisy Chain’s welcoming atmosphere, and what it means to enter her shop.
Large black doors greeted me, and a shining yellow emanated from the walls within them, drawing me into the store with a cozy sunshine feeling. My conversation with Brandi started from the beginning of her journey. Daisy Chain began as a booklover’s dream, she explained.
“Like most readers, the idea of having your own bookstore is something that kind of hangs out in the back of your mind and sits there as a beautiful what if,” Brandi said. “I don’t like the way big companies do bookstores because then it’s all about the corporate piece. It’s not about the human piece.”
She explained how she drew a doodle of a truck filled with books that would be chased around excitedly by book lovers and friends. The ‘booktruck’ was her dream, but when she came up with the idea, she worked in social work and could not accommodate both. However, her career in social work was halted when her family could not adopt a child they were fostering.
“Our hearts were broken.”
Brandi shared that the government made a choice not to allow them to adopt the child, and she could no longer dedicate herself to social work in the same way.
“I decided to go someplace that was a balm for my soul, which was bookstores.”
However, Brandi said that her experience in the ‘big bookstore’ was not as perfect as she imagined, and so she took a chance to make her doodle come to life.
“A podcast I listened to said if you don’t see your idea in the world, then maybe you should do it.” And in 2018, Brandi started the booktruck. It was very successful around Edmonton, appearing at many local markets.
Then in 2020, the pandemic drove Daisy Chain Book Co. to permanently open a store base, so that readers could have a collective space to share amidst restrictions. I could tell that Brandi really cares about bookselling as a means of making people happy. She spoke with a happy animation in her voice and movements.
“The community has really embraced it. We were the only bookstore in Edmonton that did not close one day.”
Three years since opening the first location in 2020, a second location opened in Beaumont. Brandi said she wanted to open one there because they didn’t have a bookstore, and some people told her they were buying their books at Shoppers Drug Mart.
“I can’t have that. So, we made it work.”
The Edmonton shop has brightly coloured yellow walls and white shelves, so it is very bright and exciting. The shelves also have unique titles to fit the genre, such as “out of this world” for the fantasy and science fiction section.
The name Daisy Chain Book Co. came from Brandi’s love for her favourite flower, and the connection of bookstores to building a chain of readers.
“I thought about what we do as a business where we take books, and we have readers, and then people bring us books. And then, they share those books with other readers. It becomes like a chain of books and readers and books and readers that create a community. And so that chain never ends.”
Daisy Chain is founded on the idea of creating a community in books that goes beyond just purchasing or selling. Brandi is adamant about building a space that is welcoming and inclusive.
“I wanted to have a space where people could gather,” so she started a book club. And when that book club was full, she started another one. Eventually, she had five book clubs running each month. “The readers are more important than the books they read,” Brandi said. The book clubs range from adult to teen focus.
Brandi runs many other events in the store for anyone to sign up for on the website. These include a chocolate and book pairing night, author events, open mic nights, writer’s groups, and book launches.
“It’s really the people who come in that make the big difference,” Brandi explained.
The best way to join this community at Daisy Chain is “just to ask.” The store has a calendar of events in person or found online, and Brandi constantly adds new and exciting things. She told me that if someone wants to see something that she doesn’t yet offer, she will do her best to make it happen.
(insert image ‘dcbc inside shop’ with caption: The left side of Daisy Chain Book Co.’s store shelves.)
Brandi is also a writer, and has a book in progress about her store and book truck. She is excited about being able to inspire other dreamers and to offer insight into her decision-making process. She also includes stories from the road of her book truck journey.
With the Christmas season approaching, Advent Stacks return to Daisy Chain and are one of their most popular products. You can order any amount of books in a wrapped stack to open one-by-one (or all at once if you cannot wait) that act as an Advent treat calendar. Brandi and her team will choose a selection of books based on your preference and wrap them individually. Details about the Advent Stacks and how to order one are found on Instagram@daisychainbookco.
Daisy Chain sells a variety of used and new books ranging from all genres, including children’s literature. They also carry book-ish goods and gifts, such as tote bags, candles, and puzzles. Free local delivery is available.
Every time I have visited the shop I have left with a new and exciting story and a warm heart from my interactions within. Brandi truly cares for the people that walk through her doors, and I have always felt welcome. Brandi and her team are full of energy, a love for books, and smiles that create one of the best environments in Edmonton!
Daisy Chain Book Co.
12525 102 Ave. NW, Edmonton, AB and #102 5010-50 St., Beaumont, AB
Hours (for both locations):