BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT:

With unemployment on the rise, the owner of a new La Crescenta bookstore is aiming to help people keep their personal productivity from falling.

OnlyHelpfulBooks.com, a new store at 3115 Foothill Blvd. that plans to gain a presence on the Internet, opened last month with the hope of giving visitors better insight into their personal potential, owner Golam Chowdhury said.

The store is stocked with more than 2,000 self-help titles that can help consumers turn their lives around and take advantage of unnoticed opportunities, even if they’ve been laid off, Chowdhury said.

There are pointers on using the power of the Web to start a unique money-making business from home. There’s advice on becoming a business executive, made up of letters written by successful American chief executives. There’s a guide to building cardiovascular health through simple daily exercise routines and another book on doubling a child’s grades. There’s even a collection of accounts from the mothers of 20 American presidents that offer tips on how to raise presidential children.

And the list goes on.

“Every person, if he tries — does not give up — if he persists in anything, he must succeed,” said Chowdhury, who has spent the last eight years listening to motivational speakers and reading self-help books, a course that eventually led him to open his own shop on the subject.

But whether those same lessons on persistence will help his store achieve success during a recession that has left many consumers pinching their pennies is less than certain.

“I’ll give it my best shot,” he said.

Chowdhury was still stocking the tall shelves of his green-walled store Thursday, more than a week after he held a grand opening that surprised visitors who expected to see books from “The Complete Idiots Guide” and “For Dummies” series.

“The variety is completely different,” said Jean Maluccio, executive director of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Chowdhury’s uncommon titles would have been difficult to track down in a large bookstore, said Steve Pierce, president of the Crescenta Valley Town Council.

“It’s kind of good to let people know that these kinds of bookstores exist and to let them know that you don’t have to go to a Borders or some of these other types of bookstores to find some of these books,” Pierce said.

OnlyHelpfulBooks.com has also filled a void in La Crescenta, where it is the only bookstore in town, Pierce said.

The economic slump will be a challenge for Chowdhury, but his offering of self-improvement titles might be appealing to consumers looking for an inexpensive and unique side activity, said Eleanor Wacker, a member of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors.

“It’s a wonderful form of entertainment, enriching yourself and broadening your horizons,” she said.

Chowdhury’s online store, which is being developed by a contractor in India, is not currently viewable — his website holds a text-heavy “coming soon” description page — but a preview version of the site appeared organized and comparable to online juggernauts Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The advantage for OnlyHelpfulBooks.com will be its upfront display of standout self-help titles, something that isn’t easily available on other websites, Chowdhury said.

If Web surfers don’t decide to search for self-help books, they will never know how many opportunities for personal improvement they can take advantage of, he said.

“If they come here, they know directly what is available,” he said.


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