January 09, 2002 11:00 pm

He and his partner, Dola Cutter, bought the business in December from Mary Swanson.

Swanson, who opened the business a few years ago in the small mall, will continue to operate The Bookloft at 107 E. Main St. in Enterprise, she said.

Hutchison has a varied background.

He and Cutter live at Wallowa Lake, where Cutter has owned a cabin for about 30 years. They moved here permanently from Bend about a year ago.

Ive been a bartender, a fishing guide and a musician, Hutchison said one day recently from behind the counter where he was going over inventory.

Nearby he kept an acoustic guitar handy. He enjoys playing in the evenings at The Hydrant down the street.

Ive always loved books, he said. He ran the Stanford University bookstore after graduating there. He majored in religious studies and comparative literature, he said.

I was walking by here (the Book Corner) one day and saw that it was for sale. Dola gathered some information and investigated, then advised me to buy it. I brought in some relatives from North Carolina, too. They looked things over and also thought it was a good idea (to buy).

Things are pretty slow in downtown Joseph right now, but Hutchison plans to make some changes before he schedules a grand opening later, closer to sometime when the snow quits and the time when tourists will start coming in.

Included in those changes will be a new name for the store.

Im going to call it the Joseph Book Shop, he said.

He said he was going to be open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 432-432-0872.

Ray Linker