Turning the page after nearly 40 years at the corner of Granite and Patterson Avenues in the city, a local bookstore is headed to a new, larger location in western Henrico.
Book People earlier this month closed its longtime shop at 536 Granite Ave. and plans to reopen April 1 at 10464 Ridgefield Parkway in the Gleneagles Shopping Center.
Owner David Shuman said the new and used bookstore has outgrown the Westhampton space it has called home since the mid-1980s, and had been on the hunt for a new location for more than a year.
“Our goal was to stay as close as possible to the current Granite Avenue location,” Shuman said. “After taking all this time to find a place we could actually afford, we tripped over the Gleneagles spot.”
Book People is taking over the space formerly occupied by the War Store next to Glory Days Grill in the shopping center.
With 2,000 square feet to work with in the new store, Shuman said he planned to expand the children’s books, young adult and manga sections because of the popularity of those genres.
Ruth Erb opened Book People in 1980 at Willow Lawn shopping center. She moved the store to Granite Avenue in 1986. Shuman, who was an employee of the store, bought the business in 2018.
The Granite property recently vacated by Book People is owned by local lawyer John Thomas.
Shuman said the store has seen success in the several years he has owned the operation, and attributed that to people seeking to buy local.
“Business has been pretty good actually. The business had flattened right before I took over, but revenue has been up year over year, even during the pandemic. The whole ‘shop local’ movement has really helped,” he said.
The Gleneagles center is anchored by Crunch Fitness. Other tenants in the center include kids art studio Happy Palette and Mexican restaurant Mi Jalisco.
I LOVE books (no digital!), so I wish him nothing but success….but I can’t imagine his customer base (urbanites) driving further west to John Rolfe Pkwy. I hope I am wrong.
I know I would if I went to a business for years and then they decide to move. However, if I never owned a car and always biked it around town, it would be difficult. Maybe they can start doing online orders if they don’t already.
Ah yes, all us dumb folk out in the suburbs who just hate books! This is now closer to my house by a few minutes, and I will be a proud patron of the new location.
Not sure why people are downvoting this obviously correct point. Folks who live in the Near West End live there, in large part, so they don’t have to drive to the suburbs. The desire to buy local will dissipate when the store is no longer local. I would guess they will lose well over half of their current customer base.
I lived for a long time in The Fan. I moved to Chesterfield (love, dang it) and still drive back down to Carytown because I love Mary Angela’s pizza. I trust my auto repair guy. He left downtown for Short Pump, and I take my car out there because he does great work. If people liked the store before, they’ll drive a bit further to support them.
Mary Angela’s is WORTH the drive.
Is it, Victoria? If you value the goods & services of this bookseller, would it not be worth the drive?
Richmond city has become a dystopian nightmare. Everyone is scrambling to leave. I don’t blame them.