Viewpoint Books prepares to open second downtown store June 6

Readers often say that books take them places.

Come 4 p.m. Wednesday, the expanding Viewpoint Books will use staff and volunteers to take its books places — spots inside its recently acquired space at 425 Washington St. in downtown Columbus.

There is currently no rain date, but organizers estimate that about 100 or more volunteers are needed, and simply can show up at Viewpoint’s current location at 548 Washington St.

The opening date of the new space is currently set for June 6 — a First Thursday Downtown date — with a Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting at 4:30 p.m. that day. For now, hours will be the same as the original store.

The added location, the former location of home decor boutique Ames Mercantile, is part of the local independent book store’s second storefront measuring about 1,700 square feet. Viewpoint Books Owner Beth Stroh called the moving plans the “Book Brigade,” organized by Bonnie Boatwright. Boatwright and Stroh are estimating the book convoy to take about two hours to move about 2,000 volumes.

Viewpoint arranged a similar operation when it moved in 2007 from the old Commons Mall down the street to the current location at Sixth and Washington streets about four months before the mall was mostly demolished. Terry and Susan Whittaker opened the store the mall in 1973.

Katelyn Gosnell Richey, left, owner of the former Ames Mercantile store in downtown Columbus, and Viewpoint Books owner Beth Stroh share a hug on Washington Street in March. Richey and Stroh are united in Viewpoint’s plans to open a second downtown storefront where Ames Mercantile closed earlier this year.

Earlier this year, Stroh announced a crowdfunding campaign called HUG — Help Us Grow — that would fund an expansion into the ex-Ames spot across the street at 425 Washington St.

Stroh has said that the bookstore is cramped for space and she believes a second nearby storefront makes sense. She mentioned in a previous story that her business is the second-oldest full service, independent book store in the state.

Among other activities, the new space will be used for book signings, which sometimes have attracted a line of dozens people stretching outdoors and literally around the corner for popular regional authors such as Al Unser Jr., or slightly lesser-but-strong interest for Columbus writers such as Brandon Andress or Paul Hoffman, Stroh said. The new space will allow for such book buyers to wait inside, in case of inclement weather.

Columbus teacher Andrew Larson will be the first book signing in the new space June 15, publicizing his just-released work “Life’s a Project: The Six A’s of Project-Based Learning.”

The new space also will be used especially for extensive book series because some of those require substantial space. For instance, Louise Penny’s series of 20 novels will all be on the shelf at the new space. That has not been possible at the original book store.

“The new space is an opportunity for us to make sure that more titles are represented,” Stroh said, adding that that will include special edition books and also author-signed editions.

Stroh added that the bookstore’s free services such as Bartholomew County home delivery of purchased books, which the store calls Point to Porch, will continue, as will its subscription service.