About Us

Hello, my name is Judy!

Now that we've been formally introduced, let me tell you about my bookstore. We are a small, independent bookstore in Tiffin, OH. We sell new and used books in a variety of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, religious, and children's books. We started out as a pop-up shop, but we officially opened the doors to our storefront on September 8, 2022!

I'm originally from Galesburg, MI, but call myself a Tiffinite. I live with my boyfriend, Sean, who is a math teacher at North Central Academy. I moved here in the fall of 2016 to attend Heidelberg University, where Sean and I met in an 8am Differential Equations class (romantic, I know). I spent most of my summers in Tiffin, working in the National Center for Water Quality Research (NCWQR) on Heidelberg's campus. I graduated in the spring of 2020 (yay, COVID) with my B.S. in Environmental Science and Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. Now, I work at NCWQR as a Model and Data Analyst.

As you probably guessed, I love the sciences, but I have an entrepreneurial spirit that I inherited from my parents. Since 1988, my parents have owned and operated The Shoe Smith in Portage, MI, a shoe repair and orthopedic shoe store. My dad is a Certified Pedorthist (which means he can make custom inserts). I spent many days of my childhood in the store, helping my parents restock inventory, sell shoes, return repair items, attend trade shows, and even create my own leather products to sell. My childhood experiences provide me with an oddly extensive knowledge of shoes and feet (just in case you have questions). For years, I thought about starting my own business, but I wrote it off as a pipe-dream and decided to pursue it in retirement.

After graduating from Heidelberg, I started to attend graduate school. I was accepted into a PhD program in Ecology. When I started grad school, I had two feelings: (1) I can't do this, it's too hard, and (2) I don't know if this is the right path for me. For years, I thought I would obtain my PhD and work as a researcher and professor in academia. By the end of my first semester in grad school, feeling #1 had dissipated; I was confident that I had the skills and determination to obtain my degree if that's what I wanted. However, I found that feeling #2 remained. Something was missing, something just wasn't right. In a fateful conversation with a friend, I found myself explaining my hesitation in returning to grad school for my second semester. I revealed that I had often daydreamed about buying the existing bookstore in town, fixing it up, and becoming a community cornerstone. My friend asked, "Why don't you open your own bookstore?" Those simple words hit me like a ton of bricks. With a lot of thinking and soul searching, I decided to walk away from grad school and pursue my dreams. I learned that, in grad school, I had been pursuing my interests, not my passions. With Pan Yan Bookstore, I'm excited to be chasing my dreams and offering the Tiffin community the chance to find their new favorite book and connect with others.

So, here we are! I have many future plans that I can't wait to implement, but I'm learning to take baby steps. I hope you all will join me on this journey. After all...

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” ~Groucho Marx

So, what's with the name?

The familiar bronze statue of “The Indian Maiden” on Frost Parkway, near Miami Street, marks the site of Fort Ball, which was a military depot of the war of 1812. Fighting an engagement of that war, Erastus Bowe first sighted the location upon which Tiffin now stands. In 1817, he returned to the site and built his Pan Yan Tavern, which later became a stagecoach stop, on the north Sandusky River. Early homesteaders followed soon after Bowe, and the settlement of Oakley sprang up around the Pan Yan...In 1820, Josiah Hedges purchased a piece of land on the south bank of the river opposite Oakley and founded another settlement. He named this village “Tiffin” in honor of Edward Tiffin, first governor of Ohio and later member of the United States Senate, and a man who had fought to finally win statehood for the Ohio Territory in 1803.

So, we're named after the first business established in, what was to become, Tiffin! Our name reflects our Tiffin roots and our dedication to community.