The store itself is pretty small, but that’s understandable as a small business. I’d compare it to the size of my apartment (less than 500 square feet), with shelves lining the walls and a few lounging areas (couch, egg chair and some stools). I’d describe it as someplace in an indie movie where the lead character sits and drinks coffee and is trying to write the novel of the century. For those of you in Gainesville, it’s in the Sun Center downtown, near Alter Ego and the old Gainesville Sun headquarters.
During the opening, the owner David Merahn talked about how he had to start reading more genres than he was used to in order to prepare to own the store. He even admitted to liking some “chick-lit,” such as “The Devil Wears Prada” and “The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing.” All the typical genres were there, which meant I was faced with impossible decisions as always. I came away with “When You Are Engulfed In Flames” by David Sedaris and “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson. Prices are about $6 for paperbacks and $8.50 for hardbacks, with some rare or large books that are more expensive.
One thing I particularly liked was how some books were arranged; two shelves near the front were for “Award Winners You Overlooked” and even “Dark” and “Light.” They also have novelty things to purchase: mini notepads and pear-shaped sticky notes; leatherette flasks with the Broken Shelves logo; and miniature stamp sets. If you read the original story I linked to in my previous post, you know they served drinks, wine and beer. It also has late hours to add to the low-key atmosphere Merahn wants. So far it’s hosted different events like an album listening hour, “Sexy Saturday,” a “Game of Thrones” discussion and a reading from a local writer.
I think Broken Shelves has a lot of potential in a city like Gainesville and I hope it does well.