|Church St. Coffee & Books, Mountain Brook, AL|
Obviously, if you've followed my journey you know that there is no cookie-cutter business model or building space for an independent bookstore. I've seen all shapes, sizes, and strategies. The bottom line is that bookstores do whatever it takes to survive and hopefully sustain. Cal M., the owner at Church Street Coffee & Books, told me it takes creativity. I've heard this expressed to me from other bookstore owners as well. In order to survive, Church Street has had to shift its business model to its strength as a cafe. All kinds of coffee drinks and lots of bakery items made from scratch. I can vouch for the bakery items since Cal offered me one of their legendary "breakup" cookies. There was even a bakery order being prepared on the day of my visit, sending out 400 cookies. When I asked about Cal's business growth he told me its good for the cafe side but not so much for the book side. So can you still have a good bookstore experience here? Absolutely, positively YES. There's books and coffee, duh!
Church Street Coffee & Books is a one-level cafe and bookstore in a beautiful building with a spacious parking lot. The store offers recent releases, bestsellers, books of local interest, children's, classics, as well as books featuring relevant social causes. Although the quantity of books offered is on the small side, I thought that what was offered here was excellent. Cal has been in business here for 5 years and his book buyer who was the co-owner left two years ago so now he handles the cafe and the books.
The good news here is that the cafe is thriving. On the day of my visit it was very busy and through it all Cal was gracious enough to visit with me and tell me about the store. As with all my visits, people like Cal are just the best. With the cafe, there are lots of tables and chairs to sit where you can enjoy trying out a book and a coffee. And when the weather's nice, there is a lovely outdoor seating patio.
Regardless of your reason, take time to visit this hip coffee shop with some fine books that you'll be able to add to your reading pile. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
CURRENTLY READING: The Year The Yankees Lost The Pennant, Douglas Walpole.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: All Over But The Shoutin', Rick Bragg.
|Another exterior view.|
|A wonderful outdoor patio on the side of the store.|
|You can also sit outside the front door in this area.|
|As soon as you enter, you'll see this great display.|
|After you place your order at the cafe, head to this area located to the right after entering.|
|Some great titles of interest, especially for young adults.|
|I love little reading nooks and this one is located near the children's section.|
|A portion of the children's section.|
|Space available upstairs for group events.|
|If you're not familiar with this children's series, you can check it out here.|
|Lots of books offered addressing current social issues.|
|Lots of great options at the cafe.|
|Join this book club and come get your books here.|
|A few of the irresistible offerings available on the day of my visit.|
|Really people, I'm trying.|
|An appropriate children's book for this bookstore located near Birmingham.|
|With Cal M., the fine owner at Church Street Coffee & Books. Thanks for a great visit.|