Dreamalot Books' Scrapbook

Dream-A-Lot Books

(The article was great for the store; so we forgave him getting the name wrong. Hint: One word, no hyphen. Thanks Jack for the great write-up.)

By Jack Hunter
The Post and Courier
Thursday, February 26, 2009

Located on US Highway 52, Dream-A-Lot Books' varied selection features everything from military to religious books, romance novels to the classics.

Dream-A-Lot has comic books ($1 each- hint, hint, collectors) old VHS videos, DVDs, various magazines from all eras, figurines, knick-knacks, you name it. What's for sale at the store is only the beginning.

For almost a decade, co-owner Cherry Collins has been successful in making Dream-A-Lot what she intended it to be - an educational center and hub for book lovers.

In addition to the store, Dream-A-Lot features a "Homeschool Lending LIbrary" where donated books can be checked out free of charge. The Dream-A-Lot library currently services close to 60 families and a few hundred students.

Book donations are always accepted at Dream-A-Lot and Collins gives her store a real personal touch, whether taking time to publish a monthly newsletter for customers, her 7-year-old pet turtle "Speedy" who greets customers at the checkout counter or a collage of random photographs found in used books over the years. Throughout the store, customers will find paintings of Alice In Wonderland, Star Wars and Japanese themes on the bookshelves. The artwork was donated by a loyal customer.

Dream-A-Lot has frequent book signings, book clubs, writers clubs and many other offerings. A visit to www.dreamalotbooks.com might be the best way to keep track. Dream-A-Lot books is the product of owners passionate about reading and learning. Collins' store cares about its customers and community, and is always well worth the visit.

Dreamalot Owner Turns Passion For Reading Into Business Success

(Oh, I do take the most horrid pictures. It certainly can't do justice to the wonderful article Samantha wrote for us. Thank you Samantha.)

By Samantha Test
The Post and Courier
Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cherry Collins is a book addict. Good thing she owns Dreamalot Books at 123B S. Goose Creek Blvd. with her husband of 15 years, Mark Collins.

"There's a difference between the book collector, the book reader and the book addict," Cherry said. "The collector is all about the hunt, the reader is a casual reader, but the addict has a backup for the backup for the backupbook that they are reading."

Her husband teases her about reading four or five books at any given time. She has so many books, the first 1,000 books in Dreamalot's stock was started from her own personal collection.

Now, the local used bookstore boasts about 60,000 books, 25,000 of which are in a warehouse and available online. (www.dreamalotbooks.com)

"She didn't get rid of 1,000 books, they multiplied!" Mark said.

The opening was 10 years ago this month. The couple say they are proud to be celebrating a decade of being in business.

"books are a universal commodity. There are so many of us that read," said Cherry. "With the stress of everyday life, we all need that escape. And if we didn't have that relatively cheap escape with a book, we'd go insane."

Originally from North Carolina, Cherry met her husband in Macon, GA., before they finally settled in Goose Creek. Their 14-year-old son also helps out at the family-operated stor, along with the store's mascot, Speedy the turtle.

They credit the community and their ties within it, for sustaining their business.

"I like the people I get to see," Cherry said. "You don't get that in a regular retail store. In here, the customer comes in and you find out who they are and what they like. You can tell a lot about people by the books they read. The best part of my job is getting to pick out books for people. I really like doing that. I have a knack for genres. I have customers who will call ahead and tell me to pick them out 20 books. I like the interaction with the customers. We try to know our customers. They're not just customers, they're family."

Their customers seem to think of Dreamalot Books as family, too. The store's floor and bookshelves are decorated with artwork from members of the community. Some shelves were even constructed by loyal customers.

"This place would never have lasted without the influence from the community, and in more ways than just as a customer, Cherry said.

Dare to Dream
Local bookstore provides an 'escape' for kids in foster care

By Lindsay Street
The Gazette
Thursday, September 17, 2015

The front door doesn't stay closed for long at the used bookstore on South Goose Creek Boulevard. Patrons walk into a maze of books, stacked horizontally and vertically in row after row from nearly the ceiling to the floor.

One of the patrons is accompanied by her mom. They're regulars here at Dreamalot Books in Goose Creek, and owner Cherry Collins knows just the book Brianna Clark wants.

"Check the back," she says with a knowing smile.

The Sedgefield Middle eighth grader bounces past Collins and comes back clutching a heavy medical textbook on oncology.

"She wants to be a surgeon," Collins says.

Collins has made it her mission to get books into the hands of anyone who wants them. Or more aptly put: anyone who needs them.

For years, Dreamalot Books has donated used books to Charleston and Berkeley counties' detention centers. Collins has taken up food and clothing donations. Her regular newsletters beseech subscribers to take part in Friend to Friend where prayers are requested or information on someone looking for help is posted.

"We are a community-based business and I firmly believe in giving back to the community," Collins says.

So when a patron asked if she would consider donating books for children in foster care, there was nothing to think about. Of course she wanted to put books in the hands of children, who are experiencing loss and displacement.

"Why not?" she says. "Books are sanity-savers in a world gone wild."

Ask her why books and, at first, Collins scoffs: "If you were a book lover, you wouldn't ask that question."

But books being her favorite subject, she continues.

"It's escape," she says. "It's a little piece of something they can hang on to like a comfort blanket, only you can read it over and over again … Kids in that program are going through a hard time. They need that escape. They need that safe world they can go into."

David Fitzpatrick serves on the Foster Care Review Board locally, and he said the books will be great for children to "give them something to distract themselves with."

"If mom and dad aren't taking care of you then security is a huge issue," Fitzpatrick says. "But the idea that Harry Potter has power, I can have power too. I can remove myself for a little while of thinking of nothing but this crappy situation."

The program began last week and, in its first days, there haven't been any takers yet. But Collins and Fitzpatrick know they will come.

Collins just asks that folks in the community continue to donate books in her store. Donations should be made to the "DSS Foster" account.

"If I want to keep giving the books away, I need the books to come in," Collins says. "Let me find the books homes with kids, nursing homes, detention centers. The one thing that all those people have in common is they need that escape. They need that sanity-saver."

Fitzpatrick says the Goose Creek community is a natural fit for this type of recycling.

"Goose Creek is a community that does a lot of recycling, and this is another way to recycle instead of sending it to paper recycling and gives it another chance to be read and enjoyed by somebody else," he says.

The 'happy place' for used books
Dreamalot Books emerging as a go-to hot spot in Moncks Corner

By Ralph Mancini
The Berkley Independent
Wednesday, November 9, 2022

After an 18-year run in Goose Creek and unforeseen challenges presented by COVID-19, Dreamalot Books has gradually - but decidedly - gained a steady foothold in the Moncks Corner community as a welcoming haven of second-hand books for both area bibliophiles and those traveling in from Myrtle Beach and beyond to peruse the shop's vast inventory at 1013 Old Highway 52.

The woman behind the retail shop's success and inevitable twists and turns over the past 23 years is Cherry Collins, a self-described "book addict," who would often resort to reading the backs of cereal boxes as a child in the absence of a paperback she could lose herself in.

"I skipped kindergarten, back then it wasn't required because by the time I went to the first grade, I was reading on a fourth-grade level," began the Lenoir, North Carolina native. "My dad said that I picked up a book and I never put one down. Needless to say, he was not surprised I opened a bookstore."

What sets Dreamalot Books apart from other major book shops in the Lowcountry is the sense of familiarity regular clientele shares with Collins - commonly referred to as Miss Cherry - whose large indoor reservoir of more than 100,000 publications has maintained a quaintness that's usually only found in much smaller shopping venues.

Dreamalot's maze-like layout allows patrons to set off on their own personal journeys during which they may spend upwards of an hour combing through assorted categories of children's books, romance novels, biographies and collector's items that most adults haven't read since they were carrying a lunchbox to elementary school.

Those who run out of time while scouring the seemingly boundless inventory will usually rush back the next day or later that same week to complete their quest for published treasures that typically go for anywhere from one to five dollars.

Miss Cherry's ample hodgepodge of books are the result of numerous donations and trade-ins that keeps the in-store supply constantly circulating.

But while Miss Cherry has her hands full with paying the bills (rent, general overhead, etc.) and keeping her stock organized, she also serves the greater purpose of assisting customers by informing them of what's available and even matching her store items with the literary tastes of a certain individual.

"It's not always about the money, it's more about getting the book where it needs to go, the person it needs to go to. That one was meant to go to her," she says while checking out a happy consumer who had just purchased an old, hard-to-find copy of "Dick and Jane."

Her personal, heartfelt relationship with books permeates the entire showroom, which attracts all types, including young, old, homeless folks and autistic individuals who've cultivated a special liking to Dreamalot.

"You get that used-bookstore feel, the home feel. You can't get that in a new store. Everybody feels really comfortable in here. We have a lot of autistic children who come in. Autistic children, you know, are hard to take shopping. They don't do well in stores. In here, the only problem I've ever had with autistic children is getting them to leave," she quips.

"They like it; they like that there's a maze through the shelves [and] that's it's closer and you can't get a crowd of people around you. There are treasures to find. You can come in and be here all day and not see all of the treasures that are hiding in the nooks and crannies - and it constantly changes. You never know what you're going to find."

The fact that the Lowcountry's baroness of fine books deals exclusively with low-priced used copy doesn't compel her to announce sales and/or specials, which in this economy, she observes, has become essential for those struggling with car dues, home/education expenses and sundry forms of debt.

However, the real value presented by her treasure trove of books, according to Miss Cherry, is the "sanity" they offer to folks saddled with real-world problems who sometimes need an escape from the mundane.

Dreamalot also has a mini cafe' rest area where people can sit and stay awhile while thumbing through their selected books or magazines of interest.

Recently, Collins has begun partnering with neighborhood "food fairies," who regularly drop in and drop off boxes of edibles and other items for the homeless.

Yet all the hospitality and benevolence in the world doesn't pay the light bill, and so to counter the rising costs of rent, utilities and other related expenses, the 23-year businesswoman has opted to carry goods other than books, such as toys, holiday decorations, DVDs, board games and a wide array of figurines.

What has truly caught fire at Dreamalot since moving to Moncks Corner is a growing allotment of puzzles, which has brought in new customers.

Financial demands aren't the only hurdle Collins has had to grapple with in keeping the doors open, though, as she's also negotiated her share of health concerns over the years, some of which have landed her in the hospital. Those physical issues prompted the longtime store owner to recruit Danielle Cutler Nabors as a business partner. The Pennsylvania-born mother of six, in fact, chips in with a lot of the heavy lifting.

Nabors, herself a voracious reader, enjoys listening to Collins dispense her encyclopedic knowledge as it pertains to authors and their literature.

When rattling off a list of writers she holds in high regard, Miss Cherry spoke glowingly of French novelist Jules Verne of "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" fame, as she deemed him "the last author who wrote anything original."

Similarly, she lauded Simon Winchester - who counts "The Professor and the Madman" as his most heralded work - as an "awesome" writer with a unique style.

Conversely, Collins had no qualms critiquing Stephen King's more recent literary productions, including "Under the Dome," since the science-fiction master will sometimes regurgitate old scripts he previoulsy submitted for "The Twilight Zone" to generate content for his books - with the end result of having a fizzling effect.

Miss Cherry's unfiltered insight on books and the people who write them is worth the price of admission for her legions of recurring customers, including "Penny," who paid the bookstore a visit toward the end of The Berkeley Independent's in-person interview.

"This is my happy place," said the enthusiastic book connoisseur. "I love books, I love looking for them and finding things here that I've been looking for for a long time - it's quite exciting. This is just a great, great place."

Meet Speedy The Turtle, Dreamalot Books' Mascot of more than seven years. He is a Painted Turtle, born and raised in captivity.

Here's a look at some the great artwork contributed to the store a few years ago by a couple of wonderful customers. Thank you Kim and Gina!

Adventure through the bookstore and see the artwork hiding amongst all the books.
Check out the bookshelves at Dreamalot Books.
Check out D.B. Bookworm's Mini-Museum and plan your family game night at the Family Night Center.
Not just books, but movies too!
Dreamalot Books also has music and lots of comics.
Say hello to Gremmy, the book store gremlin.
Welcome to Christmas at Dreamalot Books.