In her first foray into the world of independent bookselling, Susan Beck will open children’s bookstore Beehive Bookshop in Dalton, Georgia, with the opening tentatively set for mid-November.
Beck told BTW that the idea to open an independent bookstore came to her after reading Sarah Mackenzie’s The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections With Your Kids (Zondervan). While she’d always read to her children, Beck said she hadn’t thought about the connections she made with her children through stories.
“[Mackenzie’s] mission was very powerful to me,” Beck said. “It was so powerful that when it was time to take the book back to the library, I got sad I didn’t own a copy.”
“And I thought, well, I’ll just go buy one,” she continued, noting that she also wanted to pick up a few titles that Mackenzie’s book recommended. “That’s when I realized there were no independent bookstores nearby. The closest big bookstore, Barnes & Noble, is nearly 30 miles away. We have a small Books-a-Million, but there was nowhere else to buy a book.”
That sparked an idea for a children’s bookstore. The store, still under construction, will be 1,100 square feet of retail space, with a small section for events such as birthday parties; and while the store will mostly carry children’s titles, Beck said there will be a couple of shelves for adults as well.
Additionally, starting in 2020, Beck said that Beehive will host book clubs for middle-grade readers and teenagers, as well as one for women and moms in the community.
On naming the store Beehive Bookshop, Beck said that she loved the imagery of the beehive. “There’s a proverb that says, ‘Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.’ Of course, honey comes from our bees, and I think the world needs some more kindness,” she said.
By reading more, learning more, and building empathy, Beck added, “I hope we can be more kind to each other. I think that’s missing right now.”
Beehives, she noted, are also a place where bees gather; they’re working together toward a goal, which is in line with the community focus of the bookstore. “I’m not a book expert,” she said. “I’m just a mom who wants a fun place that makes reading fun for my kids and for other families in the community.”
Moving forward, Beck is looking forward to getting involved with those local families and the greater Dalton community. “I’m also looking forward to building connections with other moms and kids, as well as supporting our libraries and our teachers,” she said. “The support from other independent bookstores has been absolutely amazing. People go out of their way to answer questions. It’s such a supportive community, and I just want to thank everybody for every little bit of advice I’ve gotten along the way.”