We all know that nothing is better than coffee and a good book. Well, the owners of Chapters on Main do too, which is why we couldn’t be happier to share their story. Book spots have become like a second home for many of us readers, but Chapters on Main has given us the perfect medium, our third place. We interviewed store owner, Malachi Westbrook, to get a deeper look into what makes Chapters on Main special. Looking for a book spot that feels like home, brings the community together, and gives back? Plan your next trip to Historic Downtown Van Buren, Arkansas, and head over to Chapters on Main.
How did your bookspot transition from concept to reality?
Our bookstore underwent a huge renovation. It was a dream we had to start in 2016 where many laughed and said that a bookstore would not succeed in this digital age. It really has become a cornerstone in our community and a place to gather and have a conversation. We wanted to create your third place. Not home, not work, but your third place to go!
What do you feel is unique to your bookspot?
We have a three-story bookstore with lots of books. We sell an array of used and new books. Our kids loft is a lot of fun! The loft is an upstairs area that looks over the store for children to play, read, and find new books. We also have a full-service espresso bar, and we love making specialty beverages to pair with your favorite books.
If you had infinite space, what might you add to the bookspot?
Where to begin?! I would love to add more seating, nooks, and areas for even more people to gather and hang out. We’d add comfy chairs to read, tables to work at, and fun spots for kids. Expand our coffee bar because coffee, tea, and books are the perfect pairings!
How do you feel your bookspot fits into your local community?
From the very start, we have aimed to be community-driven! We love to bring the community together by hosting events like trivia nights, games, study sessions, and more. Giving back to the community has always been key to us and being involved in any way we can.
Do you hand-pick your staff to create a specific environment?
In some ways, yes! We want to create a welcoming environment for everyone, and to do that: we find team members who are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. But we love the uniqueness each of our staff brings and love to see and hear their thoughts on how we can improve and continue to grow. They are pretty amazing if I do say so myself!
What about your bookspot do you think appeals to your neighborhood?
Being a part of the historic district in our area draws people, but I think the main appeal is our willingness to step outside of the box to try new things, stay open late, and host people for all kinds of entertainment that bring the neighborhood together!
Do you have any staff picks or releases we should watch out for?
Oh, yes! I think all of us could give mile-long lists on books we love! I know right now, four of our team members are reading A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab. The fantasy genre has really captivated us all lately! We post book reviews on our website if you are ever interested to see our thoughts.
Do you tailor your inventory according to your community?
Yes! We love to offer a wide variety of books, but we are influenced heavily by the wants of our community. We love to find books you want and then find books you did not even know you wanted yet! It is always fun to have a recommendation ready for that regular customer you know loves this or that!
Is there anything else that you’d like our audience to know?
Shop locally! Support indie bookstores! Find your community and a role you can play in improving it. We hope you can visit us in person one day, or if not, meet us online through our blog posts and reviews!
Chapters on Main is located on 816 Main Street in Historic Downtown Van Buren, Arkansas.
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