MDN: New Bookstore Called Novel Coming to Laurelwood in August
An investor group that’s picking up where the February closure of The Booksellers at Laurelwood left off has signed a five-year lease for their bookstore, which will be called Novel and is planned to open around Aug. 1.
He added: “I can’t fully express in words how great it is to see that local investors, emphasis on the local, will be supporting Novel … I’d like to encourage all the book lovers out there to make sure that they support Novel, come this fall, to keep this bookstore open once and for all.”
Cory Prewitt, Laurelwood’s chief operating officer, said most of the Booksellers at Laurelwood employees are being retained for the new Novel store, which will occupy roughly half the space of the former Booksellers. The bookstore portion will comprise 10,000 square feet with an additional 3,100 square feet of cafe space.
Size had apparently been one of the factors behind the shuttering of the Booksellers at Laurelwood, which when it closed ended a 30-year run that spanned a seismic shift in customer reading patterns and the rise of digital reading devices.
The store occupied about 25,000 square feet and employed about 50 workers, with owner Neil Van Uum citing its size and rent as factors that led to its finances eventually becoming untenable.
One thing that he said helped some of the bookstore’s employees is other Laurelwood shops offering jobs in the meantime.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better group of Memphians to work with, either,” Prewitt said, referring to an ownership group that includes a few names mentioned publicly but others who he said are remaining behind the scenes.
The team spearheading the launch of Novel includes Mercer Capital president Matt Crow; Rendezvous co-owner John Vergos; former teacher Christy Yarbro; businessman Frank Jones; and Wilson Robbins, a former Booksellers at Laurelwood employee.
“From the employees to the investors, everyone is so dedicated and creative and smart,” Prewitt said. “I have no doubt in my mind that the store will meet and exceed expectations and be a positive force in the community for many years to come.”