Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Two Friends Books & Cafe - Bentonville, AR

Two Friends Bookstore & Cafe, Bentonville, AR

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G-PAR.  From my days in education, Goal, Plan, Action, Results (oh how my teacher friends are rolling their eyes).  Just as there is no cookie-cutter model for a bookstore space, there are also no two plans alike for starting that business and converting it to results.  I love to hear these stories and I love the one about Two Friends.  Two women, neither from Bentonville, moved here with their families a few years ago.  As newcomers they somehow met and decided to get together for coffee.  The first topic of their conversation?  Let's start a business!  From these humble beginnings (goal), they embarked toward a bookstore business (plan) that started as a pop-up store (action) in 2018 and has now become a brick and mortar open now for 10 months (results).  G-PAR!

So yes, this indie opened during the pandemic and I'm discovering this isn't totally unique.  As with the others, business is going very well.  What you see here is what you get.  350 butt-kickin' square feet of bookstore (but 100 square feet of this is the bathroom).  A small space, but I thought it was filled to the gills with floor to ceiling books and I was perfectly comfortable with this space.  They offer mostly new books with a few used.  Rachel, co-owner along with Monica, is the technology pro (or as bookseller Morgan says, wizard!) that allows customers to order books online.  If you order your book and live locally, they have a bicycle messenger make the delivery (I would love this job).  They offer a cafe service of coffee, tea, espresso drinks, wine, and sandwiches.  Rachel and her team constructed an impressive outdoor patio area where you can enjoy cafe items and sample a book when the weather is nice.  In their short existence they've developed a partnership with a local private school thanks to Rachel's husband's connection there.  In 10 months time as a brick and mortar and as a previous pop-up, they're doing great work here.  

Rachel and Monica, the co-owners are obviously the two friends in the bookstore's name.  But it would work just as well if it were named FOUR Friends because they left out two of their team members including Morgan who I met on this day.  No matter.  When you visit Two Friends, you'll meet any one of four terrific friends who will easily help you to enjoy a great bookstore experience.  Check this place out, Bentonville.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Baby, You're Gonna Be Mine: Stories,  Kevin Wilson.  I usually don't read collections of short stories, just not my genre.  Some have described this collection as humorous and witty.  There was nothing humorous about any of these.  More like dark and bizarre or just plain weird.  They were readable however.  If short stories are your thing you might enjoy these.  For me?  Meh. 

CURRENTLY READING: We Were The Lucky Ones, Georgia Hunter. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Let Me Tell You What I Mean, Joan Didion.  

This is the building that is home to Two Friends.  The business is on the ground floor with residential units filled with customers on the above floors.


I always take this as a good sign when I see the sidewalk chalkboards. 


A super outdoor patio constructed by the Two Friends team.  Get your book and a latte and spend some time here. 


Front entrance and windows. 


View looking toward the wall of books on the right after entering. 


A partial view of the left wall inside the store. 


Beautiful front table display just inside the front entrance. 

View of the cafe area and checkout counter. 
Options for your coffee and espresso drinks. 


Wine, baked goodies, and sandwiches available here.  You might as well make a day of it. 


I always enjoy seeing what the book clubs are reading. 


The store's bookclub pick. 


On the back wall behind the cafe area you'll see these options. 


Overview of the store looking toward the front entrance.  The store is small but they've done a super job of organization and using their space.  For a small space, they have a lot to offer. 


Staff recommendations. 


A portion of the books offered in Spanish. 


Local authors and interests. 


Your drink will taste even better in a Two Friends mug. 
The long wall of books. 

Make sure you check out the bookstore swag. 

A perfect "canvas" for young artists right outside the entrance.  

I love the name of this store.  It just makes it feel so welcoming. 

With Morgan on the left and Rachel on the right holding her future reader.  Thanks for a great visit. 

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