Monday, February 8, 2016

Brazo's Bookstore - Houston, TX

Brazo's Bookstore - Houston, TX
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Here's what really grabbed my attention when I was at Brazo's Bookstore.  This is one of those bookstores that has an energy, or at least it did on the day of my visit, and that was because of the staff I met while I was there.  Jeremy E., the owner of Brazo's, has put together a fine staff.  They were enthusiastic, friendly, helpful, welcoming, and knowledgeable.  And that wasn't just extended to me but the other customers in the store as well.  Mark H., the store manager; Keaton, the primary book buyer; Daniel, an intern; and all the rest I met and visited with were terrific.  This is not only a great testament to Brazo's Bookstore, but a ringing endorsement of indies everywhere where the majority of the people I meet are exactly like the ones at Brazo's.  Readers, do you see why I'm enjoying this journey so much?!

The store is a modest-sized one-level, located in an area that gives it a feel of a neighborhood bookstore.  It is bright with lots of large window space and is well-lit, giving it an attractive look.  Brazo's has been in its current location for about 20 years (and in business for 40+) yet the interior of the store looks very new, giving it a young look.  As you might imagine, its longevity as a bookstore can be attributed partly to a strong nucleus of local customers.  They also attract some business from the university communities of Rice and the University of Houston.  The past few years have shown increased growth in the store's business, a great sign.  There are a few sidelines which are important and help contribute to a portion of the incoming revenue, but the books are the main thing here.  Brazo's has a very active events schedule and has the flexibility to host in the store or off-site, depending on the anticipated crowd.  They also host a monthly book club, led by Mark, always a great way to bring people into the store.

Jeremy wasn't in the store during my visit but this was a good thing.  He's been spending time in Dallas considering opening another Brazo's there (and from what I can tell, Dallas needs something!).  And if a 40+ year run in Houston means anything, the future looks great either way.  Houston is booming and growing and Mark told me that people move in and they want to find a bookstore.  If you're in Houston and haven't checked this place out yet, you're missing out on a long standing, traditional local landmark.  Visit this bookstore and discover the fine people who work there and its reason for decades of success.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Boundary Waters, William Kent Krueger.

JUST FINISHED:  Didn't.  Geronimo Rex, Barry Hannah.  This book gets lots of great review but I just couldn't get through it.  I feel like I've let the book down.  Next.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Door, Magda Szab√≥.  Blood Brothers, Ernst Haffner.

Looking to the left in the bookstore from the front entrance.  You'll notice the anxious celebrity jumping in front of the camera to browse the books.  Yes, that's my mom.  

Looking through the bookstore from the front entrance.  You'll notice adult coloring books on the front display.  These are the rage in bookstores all over the country with everyone.  Except me!  

This is a portion of the area where events are held in the store, towards the front.  

Here you go.  A closer look at those adult coloring books.  If you work at an indie that doesn't offer these, you should consider it.  They are big sellers everywhere I go.  

A few of the sidelines available including journals and calendars.  

Some of the greeting cards available.  

A great display of staff picks.  I love these displays.  

You'll also see staff picks throughout the store on the bookshelf cards.  

Come on in kids, and may the force be with you!  

View from the back of the store looking toward the front.  

A partial view of the children's section.  

A nice display of some of the recent releases.  

With Mark on the left and Keaton on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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