BOONE — According to Boone’s newest bookstore owner Mary Prewitt, there’s just something about breaking in a new book that can’t be replaced.
While Boone says goodbye to one bookstore, Black Bear Books in the Boone Mall, it’s already ushering in a new one with Foggy Pine Books, opening May 23 and located downtown at 444 W. King St.
In fact, Foggy Pine is inheriting more than just the role of being the community bookstore; Prewitt, who used to be a manager at Black Bear Books, is buying off some of the remaining books, bookshelves and decorations to start off her store’s new collection.
“I’m buying the stock, the bookshelves and decorations, but then everything else is new,” Prewitt said. “I’m going to focus more on independent publishers, but we will still have bestsellers, especially paperbacks.”
Although some folks have asked Prewitt if Foggy Pine Books would be selling eBooks, she said that she wants to just stick to physical copies of books.
“I think that people who are readers — not that there isn’t a value and a place for eBooks — people who are readers have a very tangible desire to hold a book and smell a book, be it a new book or a used book, how it feels in your hand and turning the pages,” Prewitt said. “We want to cater to the general book lover. I don’t necessarily think that we need to take books into modernity.”
It’s not that Prewitt doesn’t believe in eBooks; she has an e-reader herself. But eBooks are widely available online already and she believes there is a large enough audience for physical books to support Foggy Pine Books.
“We’ll also have children’s books too, and it’s easier to start reading with a physical book, I believe,” she said.
Although Foggy Pine Books will not initially sell used books, Prewitt said she would be open to the idea if she moves into a bigger space. She hopes by the holidays to have a sizable curated collection of collectors’ editions of books, such as leather-bound, gold leaf and first-edition items.
Right now, though, Prewitt said that Foggy Pine Books is at the perfect location in the heart of downtown, even though it may seem small.
“Some people might see the small space as a negative aspect, but I really think of that as a positive thing because it allows me to curate very specific books,” Prewitt said. “I think it’s the perfect size for a bookstore.”
Warm and cozy is how Prewitt would describe the new space, which goes hand in hand with the coziness she wants the bookstore to give off — right down to its name.
“I wanted something that would be inclusive so when you walk by it, so that could be your bookstore,” Prewitt said. “(Foggy Pine) conveys a sense of the coziness and homeyness of the area and the romanticized idea of the visage that you would see up here.”
There is perhaps no one better suited to own and operate a bookstore than a self-proclaimed bibliophile. Prewitt is no exception to this idea.
“I’ve always been really passionate about books. I taught myself to read when I was 3 years old,” Prewitt said. “I was too impatient to wait for anyone to read me stories.”
Prewitt has lived in Boone for nearly a decade, having graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in English literature. In addition to having been a manager at Black Bear Books, Prewitt is also currently a manager at Noble Kava and plans to stay there part-time while she operates the bookstore.
“I enjoy managing businesses,” Prewitt said. “I enjoy all those aspects of running a small business, especially in a small town.”
Prewitt is wasting no time getting involved in the small-town community of Boone. She would love to see the bookstore being involved with charities and is especially passionate about bringing funding back into public school libraries.
“We plan to be very involved in the community on a variety of levels,” Prewitt said. “We want to support early literacy. We’re just really passionate about getting the community interested in reading and acquiring more knowledge.”
Foggy Pine Books opens May 23, but a community unveiling with live music and hors d’oeuvres will take place during the First Friday Art Crawl on June 3.
For more information, visit www.foggypinebooks.com.