It’s a plot from a romance novel: A recent MFA in creative writing graduate dreamed of quitting her mundane office job to own a bookstore. One morning, her husband reads a story on Facebook about a closed bookstore selling its inventory, and he wakes her up. “Hey, were you serious about owning a bookstore?” he asks. “Because here’s your chance.”
For creative nonfiction alum Laura Kendall, this is reality. Though she’s preparing for the grand opening weekend, Laura took a few minutes to share the details of her exciting venture.
I love the story about how this happened. What has the process been like?
Owning a bookstore is one of those jobs that doesn’t seem realistic–like only a protagonist in a movie can actually own one–so I don’t think I ever said out loud that I wanted to own a bookstore, but when Justin joked about it I just felt a huge impulse toward it. It’s been hectic because we were instantly on a timetable due to the previous owner having to get everything out of the space. We essentially had a week to either find a place to lease or move everything into a storage unit. The week we started moving things I couldn’t sleep because I was panicked something would go wrong. I’ve had to learn a lot on the fly.
How is a bookstore owned by an MFA grad different than the rest?
I’m hoping to be 75 percent bookstore and 25 percent community/writing center. I want the store to be more event-oriented, and I think I can use all the connections I have to plan some really great programs that will bring people in. I’m hoping that some of my friends at Butler will help me host some community workshops in Lafayette. I’m also talking with the Purdue MFA program to see if they want to get involved.
I love your logo. Who designed it and what’s the story behind it?
I’ve said for years that I wanted a tattoo that was an owl made of books, so that seemed like the obvious image when I decided to go with the name Second Flight Books. I actually ended up drawing up a doodle myself. My friend Nick Jones was then lovely enough to digitize it for me and help me create an official logo.
Will you be online?
Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Not yet. It is a big project, so we will likely not have it up for another month or two.
What do you sell in a bookstore?
Obviously, we have lots of books. We have basically every genre you would find at a Barnes and Noble, but some sections are larger than others. I’m really hoping to grow the graphic novel section. But aside from books, we have t-shirts, scarves, necklaces, socks and other cool bookish loot. Hopefully soon we’ll have mugs in stock too, because God knows I love mugs!
When’s the grand opening?
We’re having a weekend-long grand opening party on the 19th and 20th of November. There will be food, sales, and door prizes all weekend. We’re hoping to have a few short readings on Saturday as well as storytime and activities for kids on Sunday.
How was opening weekend?
I turned the sign around to OPEN at 10 a.m. on Saturday and no more than a minute later someone came in, and I was so excited for my first customer, but the guy glanced around, asked if we had DVDs, and then immediately left when I told him no. But since then we’ve had quite a few people come through who have actually wanted books, and I’ve enjoyed getting to show off my little shop.
What are your hours and address?
We are located in the Market Square Shopping Center in Lafayette. The address is 2200 Elmwood Ave, Suite D-7, and our front door is on a cute little strip of shops they call “The Alley.”
Our current hours are 10-6 Tuesday through Saturday and 10-2 on Sundays. On Mondays we breathe a little.