Where once they found themselves lost in a sea of winding hallways, patrons of The Book Deal can now get lost in the literature that lays behind two simple doors, easily navigable.
The store’s soft opening Saturday was met with eager crowds, oldies music and joyful chatter bouncing off the white walls of its new location at 3822 Mineral Point Road. Dozens of patrons roamed the new space’s two floors of titles, familiarizing themselves with the new and improved layout before forming neat lines up to the register when their arms could hold no more.
“Our customers really are the best,” co-owner Rick Jacobs said. “They’ve been so excited about the new location, cheering us on and anxious for us to reopen, while spreading the word.”
The store’s old location closed in July, but the soft opening is a day Rick, his brother, Jimbo Jacobs, and a friend, Josh Derr, have dreamed about for years.
People are also reading…
The three co-owners went into business in 2018, setting up shop at 319 W. Beltline Highway in a space composed of two office suites. Amid the growth and challenges of the past five years, their goal has remained the same: to foster a love of reading and facilitate access to literature for their steadily growing customer base. But accessibility was a tall order for a store that took customers through 30 seconds of winding hallways, a path so confusing they had to put up signs promising the location wasn’t a trap.
The new store is entirely of this world: solid walls, carpeted floors, sturdy shelves. But within each room are portals, adhesive-labeled gateways to other worlds.
Saturday morning, 10-year-old Via Bennett loaded up with volumes on dragons, the hydra, fairies. Her parents took Bennett and her sister, Sequoia, to the old Book Deal location a handful of times before it closed. Science fiction and fantasy are the young bookworm’s favorites, a love that’s grown since she learned to read at age 3. And in the new Book Deal location, she and Sequoia can each get five books for free, courtesy of the store’s owners.
Someday, she wants her own writings to be among the titles children like her add to their libraries.
“I wanted to write a book,” she said — fantasy, like her favorites, likely something to do with dragons.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said.
Customers like Bennett kept the soft opening lively throughout the day, energy Rick Jacobs says has been consistent since he, Jimbo Jacobs and Derr first started moving in. The local reception, he says, has been “more than we could have hoped for,” and he’s looking forward to sharing the neighborhood and its diverse customer base with the Village Bar, EVP Coffee and Sunset Yarn.
“We’ve had a lot of neighbors stop by expressing excitement — some existing customers and some soon-to-be new ones,” he said. “We believe that a bookstore is more than just a place to buy books; it’s a hub for bibliophiles to connect and share their passion.”
As they spend the rest of the week prepping for the grand opening this coming Saturday, the owners of The Book Deal do so knowing that the space that greets their patrons now isn’t a final product.
The initial trials of getting rezoning permits for the new store, moving the hundreds of books safely into it, and building shelves are behind them. Now that the dust has cleared, it’s time to turn attention to things they had to table previously.
One such goal is improving accessibility in the new storefront, installing a platform lift for those with mobility issues and applying for grants for overall accessibility enhancements.
Also on the store’s radar are expanding its catalogue, creating merchandise and selling “fun, bookish things” beyond books. To that end, they’ve already begun growing a collection of vinyl LPs, CDs, comic books and graphic novels.
While they won’t miss the old store’s confusing layout, Rick Jacobs says something they did have a hard time parting with was the art. More specifically, a mural painted by local artist Triangulador. But the art won’t be missing for long — the artist has agreed to paint a new mural in the new space in the coming weeks.
“It’s not where we want it to be just yet,” said Jacobs. “As with our old place, this location will be in a state of steady evolution.”