ST. PETERSBURG (Dec. 09, 2019) – Tombolo Books, a well-known brand around St. Petersburg from its popular bookselling pop-up locations, will open a permanent bookstore on (Saturday), December 14th.
The new 1,550-square-foot bookstore, at 2153 1st Ave. South in the Grand Central District just west of downtown, will have a rotating selection of 7,000 highly curated books, with plans for regularly engaging the community through author events and book clubs.
Tombolo Books is co-owned by Alsace Walentine and her wife, Candice Anderson. Alsace had over 15 years of experience managing Asheville, North Carolina’s well-known Malaprop’s Bookstore and growing the store’s events program. Since starting Tombolo Books 2 years ago, Walentine and Anderson have sold over 4,000 books in their popular pop-up locations.
“The time is right for a specialty bookstore like ours in St. Petersburg,” Walentine said. “In talking to the customers at our pop-ups, we’ve seen there’s significant demand for a place that brings all types of people together, with the common bond being a love for reading.”
Tombolo will carry new books for all ages, including emerging and marginalized voices, books in translation, books from independent presses, as well as beloved classics and currently popular titles.
Browsing in Tombolo Books you will find the latest in Rick Riordan’s The Trials of Apollo for your middle grade reader as well as The Hungry Caterpillar for your youngest. Your book club can choose between recent Nobel Prize Winner Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights, Sarah Broom’s The Yellow House, or Kevin Wilson’s Nothing to See Here.
The location is next door to Black Crow Coffee and Squeeze Juice Works, with an inviting courtyard and a spacious interior for hosting events. There are parking spots in the courtyard and ample parking within a block of the store.
The store is named for the word “tombolo,” which is a sandbar that connects an island to the mainland. Similarly, the owners see Tombolo Books as a vehicle for creating connections between readers and a world of curated books.
The opening of Tombolo Books’ new location matches a trend of overall growth for independent bookstores around the country. Between 2009 and 2015, more than 570 independent bookstores opened around the country, according to the American Booksellers Association, an increase in locations of close to 35 percent.
A key to an independent bookstore’s success is to build customer traffic through author events and book clubs. Tombolo Books will be doing both.
Already, the location is planning a book launch event with Florida author Sterling Watson, who is releasing his new novel The Committee in January of 2020. Tombolo Books will also be developing book club programs and expanding its in-house book club offerings. They expect these to eventually include both adult fiction and non-fiction book clubs, as well as speculative fiction, conscious living, young-adult and middle-grade book clubs.
Tombolo Books, which will be open 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., will help any book shopper, will gladly recommend a book, and if the store doesn’t carry a certain title, to order it.
“Our store will be built around customer service, knowing that every reader’s taste is different,” Walentine said. “We are excited to open our location and to doing our part in bringing our community together.”