Book Buyers writes a new chapter with community support | WFAE 90.7

Book Buyers, an eclectic, family-run second-hand bookstore known for its wide genre selection and even past cat adoptions, had to find a new home like many old Plaza Midwood businesses had to.

Step into Book Buyers – now located at Eastway Crossing – a shopping complex a few miles east of the store’s original location, and it feels remarkably the same.

There is even the same smell of worn pages in the air. The same assortment of vegan products can be found at the front of the store. And the same trinkets perched on shelves between books.

And in this next chapter of the shop’s story, four main characters live to fight another day. There is Richard Rathers the owner, along with his daughter Lee Rathers and Virginia O’Riley who help run the shop. Deena, the store’s cat, also made the trip. She now wanders between the same shelves in this new location.

Deena the cat is settling in well in the new location.

“Once we started putting the books and the shelves here, it started to look more like ‘this is what I know,'” Lee Rathers said. “It’s familiar, and we can do it.”

At the end of 2021, Book Buyers received a call from a representative of Eastern Federal Corp., which owned their old building, saying they would receive a letter asking them to vacate the space. They had two months to move.

This new location at Eastway Crossing has become the misfit toy country of Plaza Midwood’s former businesses – the Dog Salon, Tommy’s Pub, Open Door Studios, Dairy Queen and the Armada Skate Shop. There is a special bond between these companies that had to move, united by a hell of a fight that helped them survive.

“A camaraderie feels really good,” she said. “They understand, you know, what we’re going through too, I’m sure. And we definitely support each other.”

The other support felt by book buyers is when they were in the process of moving house. To try to lighten the load, they had a 50% sale and experienced sales that they had never seen before, Rathers said. Then there were the volunteers who showed up every day to help load the books. They didn’t hire any movers, it was a community led effort.

outside book buyers.jpg

Ample parking makes customers happy with Book Buyers new location.

“It was how, you know, the community is wonderful and how they really support us,” Rathers said. “And they want us to succeed and stay.”

By the time they turned off the lights at the old location, they were exhausted. But the family business was moving, it was not closing. And that was something to celebrate.

“There were times I had before I started moving that made me feel upset that we had to move. But when we moved and we had all the help, it almost felt like an accomplishment,” said Rathers. “Kind of nervous excitement about the new location.”

And there are plenty of benefits – better parking, the square footage is almost the same as the old space, and guests find their way home. That wasn’t necessarily the way they wanted to move — to be kicked out of a resort they’d called home for more than two decades (Book Buyers turns 23 in August). But this new space is the one that feels the safest – rather says they signed a 10-year lease. So they plan to stay a while.

book buyers shelves.jpg

The same libraries contain new used books.

“I don’t want to have to move anymore,” she laughed.

The shop was blessed with a next chapter and not an ending. And through perseverance, their story took on an intriguing twist – one of hope, resilience, and refuge on the east side of town.

The Grand Reopening for Book Buyers will take place June 6-12, click here for a full list of events taking place this week.

About Christopher Rodgers

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