Bound Booksellers Opens in Franklin, Tennessee

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    The books are the stars at Bound Booksellers, a new general interest bookstore specializing in well-bound books that recently opened in Franklin, Tennessee, a small town rich with local culture and the arts but in need of a community bookstore.

    Bound Booksellers windowOwner Kelly Gore’s mission for the store, which is located in a 550-square-foot space in Franklin’s West Haven Town Center, is to “provide the community a small, locally owned ‘artisan’ selection of books and gifts in an atmosphere that is warm and inviting.”

    Gore, the former interior design program chair at O’More College of Design in Franklin, has lived in the town with her husband, Chad, also a designer, and their three children since 2010. Together, they envisioned creating a place that caters to the local creative community, she said. But while offering events was always the goal, opening a bookstore wasn’t always necessarily in the cards.

    “I don’t know if the idea for a bookstore existed initially in our minds — it was more as a community hub for the local artistic community of singers, writers, and artists, but with the backdrop of a bookstore,” said Gore.

    Ultimately, she decided to open the bookstore both to serve a community need and as a way to revisit her lifelong attachment to books, which developed while she was growing up in a reading family in the mountains of Tennessee. Her mother loved books and had several graduate degrees, including one in literature, said Gore.

    “I think there was an idealistic thing that existed for me since the time I was young, thinking that I would open [a bookstore] when I retired,” said Gore. “Bookstores have always been a very comforting and warm place for me, and books have always had a very comfortable, homelike quality. Also, I live in a part of Franklin that didn’t have that small independent bookstore, so I thought there was an opportunity in the neighborhood to really connect with people through opening a bookstore.” 

    Jeff Crossan performing at Bound Booksellers grand opening
    Local author/musician Jeff Crossan performs at Bound Booksellers' grand opening.

    Gore said that events at Bound Booksellers will include writing labs, book clubs, and readings and signings with local authors, many of whom have already reached out to her.

    On Saturday, November 19, the store hosted its grand opening celebration, which featured story time, cookies, face painting, cider, and a book signing and musical performance by local Emmy-nominated songwriter Jeff Crossan for his self-published book/CD set, I Ate a Cicada Today!

    “It was interesting how so many people who came in that first day thanked me for opening a bookstore. A lot of people were saying, this is exactly what we needed and wanted for this space. It was great to see everybody’s love of books and bookstores,” said Gore.

    The store’s name, Bound Booksellers, is a double entendre that Gore and her husband came up with while brainstorming: “Bound is the encompassment of well-bound books or cross-bound editions, or books — novels, memoirs, classics — that are worthy of that. Then there is also bound, the verb, as in ‘bound to succeed’ or ‘bound for success,’” she explained.

    “I wanted Bound to be a place to go for books that you can pass down, or really well-bound versions of classics. Our inventory will include a section at the front of the store of those really well-bound beautiful books.”

    Chairs and table at Bound Booksellers
    Bound Booksellers features comfy decor in a modern space.

    The rest of Bound Booksellers’ inventory will consist of books on design, cookbooks, and contemporary classics, as well as bestsellers and many award-winning books. In addition, the store will sell a selection of literary-themed merchandise and reading glasses.

    The store’s layout incorporates a pre-existing loading dock with a garage door and mechanical equipment overhead, said Gore, so as a designer, it was fun to juxtapose the space’s industrial elements with a cozy reading area complete with soft chairs and a coffee table.

    “It was a unique and fun challenge for me as a designer. The store’s aesthetics came to me pretty easily because the space already had a mid-century modern feel,” she said.

    Gore, who is already looking ahead, has met with other retailers in the neighborhood to talk about how they can help promote one another. “For example,” she said, “a juice bar is coming to town within the next month, and we are talking about the bookstore carrying books about juicing and maybe having some of the books living in their space.”

    Gore has also had several conversations with reading and writing coaches from two or three of the local schools about offering her space to students for homework clubs or writing labs.