“On one side of our space was a taxidermist with its accompanying odors and on the other a microwave repair shop. After about 18 months, the taxidermist relocated, and we expanded into that space,” says Cindy Heath, speaking to the nascent stages of Title Wave Books in 1994.
Heath, a homeschooling mom, kept family and community close when finding her footing in the bookselling business. “In the early years when I could not afford employees, trusted customers often helped out in exchange for Book Credit. Year-end inventory was done by family and customers in exchange for a big bookstore pizza party when we were done.” Working with family felt natural to Heath, and it gave her the ability to develop Title Wave at every opportunity that arose.
“The rapid growth and profitability of the business showed me that Albuquerque loved our business. It was very fulfilling to share my passion for books and homeschooling with so many families,” Heath says. “Title Wave was selling books before Amazon was and the early days of e-commerce were exciting and rewarding, too.” She created an accessible sanctuary consisting of a vast library of treasures, and the only place in Albuquerque one can find with a specialty in curriculum and homeschooling.
Nearly half of small businesses survive for just five or more years, and about a third of them for over 10 years. This year, we are celebrating the quarter-century existence of Title Wave Books, large in part by Heath and her endurance and resourcefulness in creating a breathing business. With inspiration from her business-minded brother and a love of books, “I felt Albuquerque would respond to this vision;” she says about opening up shop.
Because of this brazen endeavor, the Title Wave community can participate in Independent Bookstore Day, which will be on April 27th. We will be honoring our 25-year anniversary on this day with book releases by Abigayle Goldstein and Jason Witter.
“I’ve never been afraid to try new things and follow my dreams. We only live once and I had noticed at an early age many people regret what they did not do, not what they did.” After moving on from Title Wave Books, Heath owned a German Shepard dog kennel to raise puppies for law enforcement, bought her sister’s used bookstore in Seattle, moved to Texas to be an organic vegetable farmer and library volunteer, and dedicates a lot of time to her grandkids.
Her zest for learning has been her inner ignition; “I’ve always been intensely curious, and whatever catches my interest, I will read,” she says. These are the values at the very foundation of Title Wave Books that, along with community support, has instilled a loving route to longevity.