I stopped by Landmark Booksellers, a two year old independent book store just off the square in Franklin, Tennessee, and visited with its owner, Joel Tomlin. A veteran entrepreneur with a knack for real estate, Joel purchased the large historic building at 114 East Main Street at the same time he purchased the entire inventory of 40,000 books owned by Dad's Old Book Store, the Green Hills book store that closed down a couple years ago.
A native Nashvillian, Joel is a lover of books, Southern Literature, and the Civil War. He also brings to mind visions of stylish Confederate Generals of yesteryear. I include here a photo of General Beauregard, whom I think Joel favors (as the term is used in the South).
Joel's strategy is a good one I think. Purchase real estate off the square in a growing but historic Southern town. Fill the book store with rare and old books, but also make new books available. Make the store a friendly place to come and hang out and browse. Give all sorts of groups -- poets, writers, Civil War buffs -- a place to hold regular events. Feature local writers and hold lots of author signings.
You can see the inside of Landmark Books here, as well as a picture of a local author speaking. That's Kathy Hardy Rhodes, author of Pink Butterbeans. And, in an interesting convergence of worlds (see the preceeding post), Pink Butterbeans is published by Cold Tree Press !