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Valley View: A New Chapter, A New Bookstore in Town

The news: A new bookstore is coming to town! On the corner of Court and Washington Streets, a wonderful space is literally getting a new lease on life, with the opening of A New Chapter.  Owner David Craddock is bestowing upon and endeavoring to provide Lewisburg with a colossal space filled with words, inspiration, with what can be most certainly be described as a labor of love.

With the Grand Opening this past Memorial Day Weekend, and with the town abuzz with activity (reunions, graduations, celebrations, and the like), the store will be finding its way as it goes, but has undergone an amazing transformation.

The inspiration: A former corporate lawyer whose practice was based in Atlanta, with some recent years managing an anesthesiology clinic, Craddock and his wife (also a lawyer) had bought a place at Snowshoe ten years ago, and had found themselves visiting Lewisburg more and more, and falling a bit more in love with it each time. They eventually wound up buying a home on Washington Street, renovating it with a new roof, central heat, etc., which then left them ready to tackle a real challenge, the filling of a vacant 1800 square-foot retail space with books, custom-made shelving to suit the somewhat expansive room, new tile, new architectural features, and 2 year lease with options to extend. (When asked what the biggest challenge was in transforming/adapting the shop, he joked, “Not knowing what you’re doing!”) So, it looks like they’ll be here for a while, and they will fill a need for the students and the scholars, the bibliophiles and bookworms, and the curious child within and without.

As of this writing, Craddock plans to be open every day of the week with full hours, but will probably transition to reduced hours in the winter months when we’ll all hunker down for the duration of winter’s chill. But for summer, they are off and running.

The goods: There will be a myriad of books, of course, with a selection to entertain a variety of tastes, the ordinary and the eclectic, with a penchant for the unusual.  And he assured me that almost anything can be ordered upon request, with a window of 3 to 5 days for delivery.  The owners are open to requests for favorite authors, genres, and wishes, so feel free to approach them with your literary cravings. They plan to serve snacks, maybe bagels and pastries, and will definitely have coffee, with a state-of-the-art espresso machine just purchased. They also plan to sell cards and gifts, as well.

When asked about special events, we discussed participation in the annual Literary Festival, with potential plans to possibly feature local authors (maybe with a special section reserved for their work), with book-signings and more.  And with a space big enough for potential workshops, classes, read-alouds, and more, who knows what the future holds in regard to special events? There are plans for a “Book Tree” for kids, where customers can buy a book for a kid who needs a book.  There will be a kids’ area set aside for read-alouds, activities, storytelling, with just a nice, comfortable place to read for the pure joy of the love of a good story.

When I was interviewing Mr. Craddock about his history of an affectionate attachment for books, I asked him if he had a favorite book from his youth that might have been a life-changer or provided inspiration. He answered with this. “I didn’t have much money as a kid to spend on books, so I read mostly used books. Even our textbooks weren’t new; they were ‘pre-owned’ in those days before books were provided by the schools. I had a fondness for historic fiction and biographies, though.” It wasn’t until he was out of high school that he got “good books to own”.  And now he will be providing “good books to own” by occupying a beloved space on the corner of Court and Washington Streets, with the fruition of his labor of love, a gift to the town, words for the readers, inspiration for the writers.

The owner’s vision: “It’s a community service, labor of love, and I’m fortunate enough to indulge this dream, this great idea. It’s been said that ‘a town without a bookstore isn’t really a town’.”  A New Chapter, indeed.

– Susanna Robinson, HashtagWV #103. July 2018.

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