The Family Business
Becky Anderson Wilkins, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshops, began working at the age of 11 in her family’s store. Her first job was dusting shelves and fixtures. Since then, she’s worked just about every job in the store; from running the cash register to driving forklifts. She even organized a Harry Potter book release party that drew 50,000 people to Naperville.
Anderson’s Bookshops has come a long way since Becky was dusting shelves. Thanks in part to her leadership and hard work, the fifth-generation family-owned and operated business now has four locations in Naperville, Aurora, Downers Grove and La Grange. In 2011, Anderson’s Bookshops was named Bookstore of the Year for its involvement in the community and local schools.
Becky also served as the President of the American Booksellers Association, where she spent seven years on the board.
Serving the Community
Serving the community is a core mission for Becky and Anderson’s Books. Through partnerships with school districts, Anderson’s reaches tens of thousands of children, teachers, and librarians at book fairs, authors-in-schools events, and book talks. Each year, Anderson’s Bookfair Company helps schools and not-for-profits raise close to a million dollars.
Becky’s love of reading and her passion for putting the right book in a child’s hands is what led her to co-found ‘Naperville Reads,’ a communitywide reading program, 15 years ago and Andrea’s Angels, a program that has distributed more than 900,000 new and used books to children and organizations in need.
In 2015, Becky won a competitive race to hold one of four at-large seats on the Naperville City Council. As a City Councilor, she has advanced affordable housing by requiring landlords to accept housing vouchers as a legal form of tender. Additionally, she helped raise the minimum purchasing age of tobacco in the city from 18 to 21.
Helping Other Independent Businesses Succeed
As a small business owner, Becky saw a need for an organization that would provide encouragement and expertise to locally owned small businesses. That’s why she founded IndieBound Naperville, an independent business alliance that celebrates locally owned independent businesses and educates consumers about how to support businesses that give back, keep dollars in our community, and embrace diversity.
The Great Lakes Booksellers Association recognized Becky for being active in the leadership of multiple industry groups and her support of the “buy local” programs and independent businesses.
Becky is a graduate of North Central College in Naperville and has three adult children with her husband Chuck Wilkins. Chuck is also a Naperville native who grew up only three blocks from Becky. They’ve been married for 34 years. He is her best friend in all things, and she is beyond proud of the people her children have become.
Becky was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014. As a result of having access to quality health care and the right treatment options, she remains in remission today.