Mary Harris knew the closure of Parkplace Books last December wouldn’t be the end of her 40-year career in books.
“It’s been my life,” she said. “I really felt that I at least had to make the effort to have another one.”
Harris reached out to loyal Parkplace customers for support, both financially and in getting the word out that she was going to open a new bookstore. “Support from the community is what makes the bookstore,” she said.
“(They) have been very generous,” her new business partner, Chris Jarmick, added.
Almost a year later, Harris and Jarmick are ready to celebrate the opening of BookTree, an independent bookstore she hopes will fill the void Parkplace Books left behind.
Parkplace fans may remember Jarmick, a poet and author, from the poetry events he held there, something he plans on continuing at BookTree. He joined Harris as a co-owner in June, and they secured the location at 609 Market Street in September.
“She’s willing to teach me the book business,” Jarmick said of Harris.
In addition to poetry events and author appearances, Harris and Jarmick plan to be a home for the Parkplace book clubs that were displaced after its closure and for any new book clubs wishing to have a place to meet. “We’re happy to accommodate them,” Jarmick said.
In fact, they see BookTree not only as a store but a gathering space for community members. “A local bookstore, apart from the intellectual value, is a gathering space for the local society,” Harris said.
The name for the store came from the iconic bookshelf that used to be in the children’s department of Parkplace; the shelf now sits in near the front window of BookTree. “I was trying to figure out a name, and there it was in the window,” Harris said.
In addition to books for adults, BookTree also has a teen corner and a children’s book room at the rear of the store.
BookTree will have its grand opening starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and will celebrate its opening weekend Friday through Sunday with a ribbon cutting and appearances from local authors.
“Everyone’s welcome to come in and just browse,” Harris said.
“We want people to come in and feel comfortable,” Jarmick added.
The regular business hours at BookTree are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Jarmick added they’ll have extended hours for special events, and some of the store’s larger special events will likely take place at other venues around town.