Bookstore reopens after buying out Story Coffee House
Delta Digital News Service
By Caroline Averitt | Contributor
Saturday, Jan. 20, 20204
Jonesboro, Ark. – Verb Bookstore reopened yesterday after being closed for the past two weeks for renovations. The newly renovated business now includes a coffee bar.
Last month, the bookstore announced via social media that it would merge with Story Coffee House to become Verb Bookstore & Café.
Owner Sari Harlow said she hopes this change will help create a hub for the community.
Bethany Davis, former co-owner of Story Coffee House, said when she and co-owner, Lindsey Spencer, were ready to step away, Harlow was wanting to expand.
“It was just the perfect full circle moment for her to take over,” Davis said.
She said there are many things she will miss about owning Story, but she can still enjoy her favorite parts about it, like drinking coffee and talking to people.
“The original goal of (Story) was for it to be sustainable on its own and for Lindsey and I to step away, and so we got that. I mean, it’s different, but it’s still there,” Davis said. “The menu is what I created, the bar is what we created, the space is what we had originally created. So, it’s a little bit different, but it still has those aspects of Story.”
The bookstore kept any Story Coffee House employee who wished to continue working after the merger.
Braden Ross, a barista at Verb, said he wanted to stay after the change because he enjoys seeing regular customers and wants to see them enjoy the new space.
“(Harlow) really put an emphasis on keeping the same sort of vibes (from Story Coffee House), just with the addition of lots and lots and lots of books,” Ross said. “She’s just so focused on keeping that sense of community and that safe space in Jonesboro the same and recultivating it a bit to include even more people, to include book nerds, as we like to call ourselves, and customers.”
Shelly Gage, an employee of Verb, said she feels like she has a lot more space after the change.
“As the person who buys the books, I can meet a lot more needs than I could next door because we had such a tiny space. Especially with our new built-in shelves, I can just kind of go crazy with book buying,” Gage said.
Verb opened in 2020 as a pop-up store in which Harlow sold books at local festivals and businesses. In 2022, Harlow began renting Suite A at 801 S. Gee St.
Now, Verb is located in Suite C, which formerly hosted Story Coffee House. The business also includes a meeting or event space in Suite B and a storage area in Suite A.
Harlow said there are still changes that need to be made, but she wanted the reopening to be a gradual transition.
“We wanted to be able to get back to serving our customers and the community as quickly as possible. So, what we’re focused on is, ‘Let’s get up and running’ and then we can kind of polish it up as we go,” she said.
Harlow said independent businesses make up the heart of a community and she hopes Verb can be a unique business that gives back.
“Our mission is to read books, share stories, and connect communities, and we believe love is a verb,” Harlow said.
Caroline Cherry Averitt is a multimedia journalism senior in the School of Media and Journalism at Arkansas State University.
Note: Feature photo by Caroline Averitt
Read more here:
Verb Bookstore & Café opens. Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council