Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Who we are, and what we are doing here

The pressure of an inaugural post. Am I writing well, do I have enough skill to hold the audience, or have you already abandoned our feeble blogging efforts and resumed your search for porn, answers to life's questions, or the perfect blackberry cobbler recipe?

My name is Hugh, and I am a bookseller. I own Midtown Books, located in Midtown Memphis, Tennessee, home of Elvis, the delta blues, and Bar-B-Que.

We were recently approached about opening a second location in Downtown Memphis. The Downtown area is vibrant and alive now, and is an area we have considered opening a store in before, but the time just never seemed right. There are always things to do, and you always have in the back of your head that the last few efforts at opening a bookstore downtown did not fare well.

So the first thing to ask ourselves was "Does Downtown need a Bookstore"? We think so. The population of Downtown Memphis is growing significantly (currently at 27,000), not to mention the huge number of people who work downtown but live elsewhere (estimated at 68,000). That is the equivalent of Jackson, Tennessee. Can you imagine a town of 68,000 people who do not have a bookstore? Then there are the tourists. In our interviews with the hotel staff, they all said, without fail, that they get asked many times a day where the local bookstore is.

No doubt a bookstore is needed. So we were off in search of the perfect location, with perfect being described as inexpensive, roomy, and on a well traveled street. We ultimately found one, located at 152 Madison Ave, in the same building the Tobacco Bowl is located in. We have known Richard Alley, the owner of the Tobacco Bowl, for several years, and we already had a small representation of books placed for sale on his mezzanine. So, when we saw the basement of that building, with it's Cheers-type walk down stairs, it's high ceilings and the intricate mosaic tiled floor, we said "why not"?

Currently opening date is planned for the middle of May, 2006 (There is a lot of build out to do). As it currently looks, we will have a full selection of quality, clean used and out of print books, as well as a full fledged rare book room (it used to be a bank vault). We will both buy and sell books there, as well as run our thriving catalogue and internet business from the new location.

Oh yes, what to name it. Well, creativity not being our strong point ( I sell books, not write them) we came up with the highly original name Downtown Books. I can be quite clever when I want to be.

On this blog, I intend to keep you updated with pictures of the new location, our plans and successes, our progress in the build out, etc. In fact, what we hope is that by reading about us on a regular basis, you will begin to feel like it is, in some small way, your bookstore, a place where you belong, where ideas are shared and conversations carried out, where you can have your own little safe place in the world to browse the collected wisdom of writers both past and present.

Thank you for reading this far, and check back later for pictures.

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