A couple months back at our super-fun Noir at the Bar appearance in St. Louis, P and I made a new writer friend, the inimitable J. Travis Grundon. Not content just to write books, Grundon has begun selling them, as well. When I heard that he and partner B.C. Brown were just about to open a new independent bookstore selling new and used books, I thought, what Divine Madness! But it’s just the kind of madness we need right now, don’t you think?
Grundon’s and Brown’s store is The Mockingbird Book Emporium in Vincennes, IN (19 N. 1st St.). Even if you don’t live in the neighborhood, you might be sometime soon. And a new bookstore gives all readers and writers a reason to celebrate.
Grundon graciously dropped by to satisfy my curiosity about his new store:
Why a bookstore?
My partner and I had the idea to open a bookstore in our five year plan, so we combined our efforts and created The Mockingbird. If there is any business two local authors can bring to a small college town…it’s books.
We found the perfect building.
Why Vincennes, IN?
I have lived here off and on since I graduated high school and it’s where my business partner is from.
How did your partnership come about?
I have been friends with B.C. Brown for 14 years. She’s a great friend.
What’s your vision of the store, say, 5 years from now?
I hope to still be open. I really want a second store. I think it would be awesome to have a bookstore/bar, but not in Vincennes.
Do you have a store pet?
Not really, I’m allergic to cats and I’m really not a dog fan. We do have a lot of regulars…some of them my fit this description.
What kind of readers are you looking for? (Besides any and all.)
I really relate to fans of what I read (Palahniuk, Kerouac, ect.) but I also read and get along well with fans of mystery and horror. Mostly I like customers with money.
We have mostly used. We have some new but we are focused on used and local authors. We also want to spot light Great authors who are not on the New York Time Best Sellers list every day.
Do you sell online?
We are working on it, but we want to take our time and do everything right.
What do you all offer that a BN can’t?
Personality and reasonably priced used books.
What has been the biggest surprise since opening the store?
I’ve been surprised by a waning of community support. Everyone was so supportive before we opened and for the first month. They’d say “This town really needs a book store.” or I’m so glad you’re here” then once the new wore off those same people vanished or turned their attention to the next big thing. The only really awesome I am surprised by is how many of my own books I’ve sold. Our loyal customers have been really responsive to the authors they can meet and get a signed book from.
We would really like to keep bringing in authors and turning people onto authors they’ve never read and can’t buy at Wal-Mart.
The Mockingbird Book Emporium
19 N. 1st St.