Last year, just before the pandemic upended what was left of 2020, local independent bookstore Nightbird Books closed their doors on Dickson Street after 14 years in business.
For used and out-of-print books, of course, Fayetteville still has the beloved Dickson Street Bookshop.
But Nightbird’s closing definitely left a hole in a city that, as Fayetteville Public Library director of development Christina Karnatz explained to us as the library was preparing to reopening last winter, “People in Fayetteville really like their books.”
That hole will be filled again soon.
Locals Leah and Daniel Jordan are planning to open a brand new locally-owned and independent bookshop just off the Fayetteville square this fall.
The couple recently leased the space at 28 E Center Street, just off the Fayetteville across from Petra and A Taste of Thai, and are planning to open a shop called Pearl’s Books.
The name is in memory of a beloved family dog that passed away.
Like it has for many Americans, the COVID-19 pandemic led the Jordan’s to start thinking more about their priorities, and taking more seriously some of their longtime dreams.
“It had been in the back of our mind for a while,” Leah said. “From March 2020 on, I started thinking about it more often, and hinting about it more, joking ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if.'”
“This January, Daniel said ‘What if we did just open a bookstore. I was immediately on board,” Leah said.
Driving around downtown one day in February, Leah said she saw the space on Center Street, called the landlord, and things have been progressing quickly ever since.
“It was pretty fast,” she said. “A lot faster than we expected.”
Leah said the walk-ability of downtown, proximity to the Farmers’ Market and other downtown events, and the community of local business owners in the neighborhood were all major selling points for the location.
The camaraderie downtown was a factor for Daniel as well.
“Small, local businesses support each other, and just being a part of that downtown is super cool,” he said.
The shop will focus on new works of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, and more.
“We’ll be kind of a general interest bookshop, not necessarily a specialty shop,” Daniel said.
The space includes large shelves recently created by local woodworker Jason Werner of Werner Wood Works in the main corridor, with a small room toward the back of the space with a table for book club meetings and other small gatherings. The Jordan’s said they even have a few books and some shelving from the folks at Nightbird.
The new store plans to host occasional author talks, book signings, release parties, and other events as well. They also plan to serve some beer and wine and a few snacks.
Renovations on the space have been underway, and books have already begun to arrive.
They were hesitant to give a specific opening date, but they said they are getting very close.
“We’ve been saying fall, and I think that’s reasonable,” Leah said.