Friday, September 14, 2012

Book store, arts space opens in Brevard Court

A new bookstore on the second floor of Uptown's Brevard Court is open, offering a quick lunchtime respite from the office grind and a place to hear poetry and independent music.

Poor Richard's Book Shoppe opened in August, after relocating from Gastonia.The store is the newest independent book store in Charlotte, and co-owner Bryan Borges said he plans to expand into the adjacent space and add a wine and beer bar.

Borges and his wife opened the store's first iteration in 2010. They had formerly run a catering business, and both also had experience in corporate finance. Their sons were graduating from college in 2009 with poor job prospects, and the family decided to start a business together.

Although stores were closing in the downturn and booksellers were particularly hard-hit, they still wanted to open their first retail business.

"Going into business yourself is always a risk," Borges said. "If you can do it in an environment that's not conducive to it, when the market turns you should be doing pretty well."

After building up a clientele in Gastonia, they hadn't planned to move to Charlotte, Borges said. However, while dining with a friend at Brevard Court, he heard there was space available in the building, and the chance to move to uptown was too good to pass up. Having made the move, he intends to expand the store's role as an arts venue

"Our main mission is to expose people to as much of the arts as possible," said Borges. Poor Richard's hosts a monthly spoken word event, accompanied by music and a visual artist creating a piece. At the end of the night, they auction the piece of art. They also have a weekly open mic with a featured poet, and a music series featuring independent musicians on Saturday.

A wide range of offerings is key to surviving in this economy, Borges said. "You can't just be a bookstore and thrive," he said. They also sell new and used books to appeal to price-conscious consumers, and take special orders. "We can get our hands on just about any title, whether it's used, new, out of print, rare," said Borges.

And the retreat of  chain bookstores such as Borders, which went out of business, leaves more room in the marketplace for independents, he said: "Businesses like ours, businesses like Park Road Books, those are the ones that will fill the void."

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Anonymous said...

Good for them.

There can never be too many independent bookstores.

Alannc44 said...

Is Brevard Court still closed on the weekends?

Anonymous said...

Latta Arcade (the indoor portion) is still closed on the weekends. Hopefully that will change soon.

Most but not all of the businesses in Brevard Court (the outdoor portion) now stay open on the weekends.