The bright pink door of Chattanooga's newest independent book store officially opened to customers on Thursday.
The Book & Cover, located at 1310 Hanover St., quickly filled with people browsing books on the overcast afternoon.
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After weeks of watching people peek through windows and give thumbs up as they passed by, owners and former Girls Preparatory School classmates Blaes Green, Sarah Jackson and Emily Lilley said it finally feels real.
“We're just really excited to have someone in here and make it real because it has felt so much like this is something we're doing for our community and they're such a big part of it and they haven't been here yet,” Jackson said. “It feels like [the community] is the missing piece.”
The first sale of the day went to Coughlin Cooper, who said she knew Jackson through Cooper's role as director of special events and parent engagement at GPS. She is also partnering with the bookstore to host the school's parent book club.
“It's super exciting,” said Cooper, whose reading habits picked up and were a form of escape during the pandemic. “I couldn't be more excited for them and for Chattanooga.”
Chattanoogan Elizabeth Gaffrey said she first heard about The Book & Cover on Instagram.
“It was awesome. I feel like being able to see books in person is just a part of the experience, especially with kid books,” she said. “As soon as I heard a hint of a book store I was like 'I will be following this journey forever.'”
The shelves that line the walls of the Book & Cover are filled with books across a variety of genres.
From non-fiction books like Dolly Parton's hardcover songwriting memoir, to cookbooks, mysteries, science fiction novels, romance, classics and a little bit of everything in between, the shop has something for those of all interests. There is also a young adult section and a dedicated children's area decorated with art inspired by “Where the Wild Things Are.”
The Book & Cover
Location: 1310 Hanover Street
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
In addition to books, the shop has a coffee bar and sells other goods like branded bags and T-shirts, enamel pins and cards. Lilley's dog Bertie can also be found weaving through the space.
The owners crowdsourced $100,000 through IndieGoGo earlier in the year and hosted a number of the sponsors in the space the night before the official launch for a sneak peek.
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Since the end of the fundraising campaign this summer, the process has been a “whirlwind” as the friends worked to navigate everything from the difficulties of the business model and permits as well as celebrating even the most minor signals of progress.
“It's also been cool to kind of watch ourselves navigate through those challenging pieces and find the small victories,” Lilley said. “As we're dealing with something difficult, something positive would always happen that would encourage us, keep us excited about moving forward.”
All in all, the owners said the craziness has been worth it to make their dreams for their business and their community come to fruition.
“It has been a mad dash — list-making and keeping and crossing off — to make sure that we have everything covered,” Green said. “[We want to make sure we have] what is going to make this space accessible and comfortable for all kinds of readers to come in and find something that they like and something that is for them.”
Contact Tierra Hayes at [email protected]
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