In late January or early February 2017, we made a fateful decision. We would build a bookstore that would serve as a community hub.
It may seem like a strange thing to do at age 65, but it had a certain elegance. After all, I had loved books for as long as I could remember. That love was a constant, one of the verities of life that had never waned. As the years had stacked up, I had often returned to books in one form or another. A dozen years ago, I had decided to try my hand at writing books. That pursuit resulted in nine novels, countless blogs, scores of short stories.
Even later, I had come to book selling and learned the ropes, the ins and outs of the business, albeit online, not from a brick and mortar store. That endeavor demonstrated to me the inherent weaknesses of Internet commerce. Even Amazon's massive presence online could not produce the quiet beauty of a lazy trip down the aisles of a used bookstore. It couldn't match the primal smell of books, the joy of talking about ideas with a fellow book lover, the delight of finding a notation in a used book that revealed how someone else had felt about it in a private moment of cool reflection.
So, as I said, we, my wife, Mary Paige Woodfin, and I, took the plunge. I don't know how prepared we were for the actual journey, or if we had a true understanding of how many moving parts the project contained. But we forged ahead. We acquired inventory, built a ton of bookshelves (with the help of John Nelson, a retired IT guy with great handyman skills), learned how to catalog and arrange books.
In the middle of the project, we also decided to add a coffee shop to the bookstore. We figured if we were building one business, we might as well build two.
I had first projected June 1 as a target date for the store's opening. That became July 1, then August 1. Now we have designated August 19 as the kickoff date. Most of the boxes of books are off the floor, most of the furniture is in place, most of the technology necessary to run the place works.
All that remains is the thing itself, the fruition of the dream, the community of book and coffee lovers.
We hope you will have the chance to come by and say hi. Maybe even stay a while and enjoy the quiet, or the noise, or whatever the place may bring with it.
See you soon.