Young bookstore owner discovers
dreams can come true
A small display at the entrance to The Book Exchange provides reading suggestions for customers, who
might find these selections interesting. New owner Wood enjoys assisting customers with their books.
The bookstore has lots of options for readers — both in paperback and hardcover — on its shelves.
In 2018, Wood moved to Port St. Lucie,
where her mother had been living for
some time and transferred to Palm Beach
Atlantic University. Wood commuted
to college five days a week and graduated
in 2020. Later, she took a job as an
assistant teacher at a preschool for 2- and
3-year-olds, where she had difficulty caring
for the young toddlers.
“I was struggling a bit at the preschool,”
Wood says. “It was a lot to take
on, the responsibility of caring for and
helping these small children in every
way all day long. It was not for me.”
Several months into her preschool
position, Wood’s mother, Suzette, was
visiting a pharmacist friend who happened
to mentioned that the owner of
the neighboring bookstore was looking
Wood’s mother took the initiative and
stopped in The Book Exchange to talk
with owner Jeanné Giddens and couldn’t
wait to share with her daughter what she
had found out.
“I was always saying, half-jokingly,
that my dream would be to work at a
bookstore,” Wood says laughingly. “But
I’ve said a lot of things, such as ‘I want a
million dollars,’ just daydreaming really.”
SHOCKED AND EXCITED
When her mother shared the news,
Wood was shocked and excited at the
opportunity. At first, she thought it was
too good to be true, but once it sank in,
she jumped at the prospect of owning
her own bookstore.
“I was so focused on leaving the
preschool job to find something I truly
enjoyed,” Wood says. “I think back, and I
was probably a little naive about the insand
outs of running a business, but it was
one of the best decisions I have made.”
Since taking over The Book Exchange,
Wood says she has been welcomed with
open arms by the community. Other
small business owners have reassured
her that the shop would continue to
thrive and helped her to succeed in any
way they could.
“It’s been nice to have that feeling of being
included and supported by my community,”
Wood says. “It was something I
didn’t know I needed until I had it.”
The new business owner has been
Port St. Lucie Magazine 19
A decade ago, Meghan Wood
was secretly exchanging
romance novels with a close
friend. The excitement of
receiving a new book helped her interest
in literature blossom. Little did she
know that she would be the owner of
a bookstore that also thrived on the
exchange of books.
The Book Exchange, which has been
part of the Port St. Lucie community
for more than 20 years, has a new
owner. At the young age of 23, Wood is
now the new owner of the local shop.
“Sometimes it doesn’t feel real to
me, while other times I’m so aware
because of my workload,” Wood says.
“It’s really been a wonderful experience
and I’m taking it day by day.”
Growing up in South Florida,
Wood lived a full life, surrounded
by an abundance of family and close
friends. Her mother and father,
both pharmacists with doctorates,
emigrated from Jamaica.
Wood attended Coral Springs
Christian Academy for much of her
education and remembers those years
fondly. They were formative for her in
many ways, one being that it was the
start of her interest in reading.
“I began reading romance novels
around the age of 14,” Wood says.
“That’s around the age I was starting
to be a little ‘boy crazy’ as many girls
are, and reading those was really fun.”
START OF A LOVE AFFAIR
Wood and a friend would trade
books back and forth. This harmless
exchange, their little secret, launched
Wood’s love of literature.
Upon graduating high school,
Wood attended Florida State University
in Tallahassee where she majored
in psychology and minored in business
administration, a course load that
would help her in the future.
“Besides psychology, my favorite
courses always had something to
do with literature,” Wood says. “I
read Beloved by Toni Morrison and
it changed my entire world view, it
changed me, really.”
The book had such a profound
impact on Wood, she had its title tattooed
on her arm. >>