Even as some downtown business go out of business, at least two are opening their doors. And perhaps coincidentally, both are bookstores. One bookseller is picking up where a beloved local used-book retailer left off; another charts new territory in a central location with a supply of bubbly to ensure a celebratory mood:
• Montford Books & More (31 Montford Ave., Asheville, 280-1303) opened its doors Friday, Jan. 16. Owner Kay Manley, who took over the space formerly occupied by The Reader’s Corner, says this business is “something I’ve always been interested in. It seemed like a good opportunity.”
Manley says the new store will be similar to its predecessor “as far as selection and quality,” with a focus on used books, DVDs, CDs and vinyl.
Some changes: The bookstore will offer drinks and snacks for sale (though nothing as substantial as bagels or sandwiches). Readers wanting more than a shopping experience are invited to hang out—there’ll be places to sit and wireless Internet access. Manley says she wants Montford Books & More to feel like “a neighborhood retreat.”
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.
• Battery Park Book Exchange (1 Battle Square, Asheville, 252-0020), an elegantly appointed sprawl of rooms fitted out with couches, wide shelves and Oriental rugs, is moving into the Battery Park Apartments. The space is set to open around the first week of February, owner Thomas Wright reports. He and his wife, Donna, also own a seasonal business, the Little Switzerland Book Exchange, on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Wrights’ downtown Asheville business promises a wide range of subject matter, a vast collection of used books and new ones on local and regional subjects, including North Carolina and Southern history. While the already-stocked upstairs area—visible from street level—looks to be a treasure trove for literature fans, Wright emphasizes that the Battery Park Book Exchange also includes “about 2,000 square feet in the basement,” which “We’re jamming with a minefield of books.”
Like some of their local competition, the Wrights will accept used books in exchange for cash or store credit. What’s different? This business will also boast a champagne bar. “We’ll serve wine, beer and nonalcoholic beverages,” notes Wright. “We call it a champagne bar to distinguish it, because hopefully we’ll have the best collection of sparkling wines and true champagnes.”
As such, the store will stay open a bit later than most other booksellers—until about 8 p.m. in winter and, once warmer weather arrives, till 10 p.m., so customers can take advantage of the planned outdoor seating.
“It’s a small bar and a pretty good-sized bookstore,” says Wright. “More librarylike than barlike.”