Sure, it’s easy to get a book online these days. But you get so much more by purchasing it from a local bookstore.
When Scuppernong Books opened on December 21, 2013, it didn’t just provide folks a spot to browse magazines and sip coffee. People anticipated its opening long before the doors even opened. Greensboro folks who once flocked to Atticus Books or made the road trip down to The Regulator in Durham - they knew the value of a locally owned bookstore.
Independent bookstores are able to hyper localize what they offer. Simply put - the owners know the community and are able to deliver what it needs. And a bookstore downtown, well that was a bonus. Many felt that’s just what downtown needed.
Bookstores foster a sense of community. They serve as a gathering place for writers, aspiring writers and all levels of readers. Since it opened, Scuppernong has hosted writers groups, poetry readings, birthday parties, and even a post-funeral after-party. And the writers that have come through its doors have been just as diverse - from best-selling authors Natalie Goldberg and John Grisham to aspiring poets and novelists still in high school.
The bookstore has also provided a voice for justice and equality. It stood against HB2 and has invited numerous groups to hold discussions about racial justice, women’s rights and what it means to be Muslim in America. Such community support was recognized last year by Triad Local First. The Small Business Award was presented at the organization’s annual Community Table dinner and fundraiser. “They came into a small downtown area and started a business when the bookstore industry was/is dying,” says TLF board member Mary Lacklen. “They transformed their store from not only a place to buy books, but into a meeting space for writers, musicians, politicians, students and localists. Their impact on downtown Greensboro has been huge.”
Brian Lampkin, a Scuppernong owner, says independent bookstores thrive in every community because of local support. “We offer something unique that can only exist if our community deems it worth having,” he says. Scuppernong’s owners believe that every downtown needs an independent bookstore. “This award helps us stay on course, to see that our community does value what we offer, and thus, we’ll continue to fight the good fight for independent bookstores and businesses of all kinds.”