The Booksmith, a literary fixture of Seneca, S.C., has just been put up for sale by co-owners Alan and Patricia Lightweis, who plan to retire after more than two decades behind the counter. According to an e-mail the Lightweises sent to customers in early February, the 22-year-old store is flourishing "even now, in this age of electronic this and digital that," and is "well-positioned to ensure that books and reading will remain at the forefront of our business."
The 14,000-title store, the Lightweises report, boasts "a loyal customer base, a dedicated, hard-working staff" and a "stellar reputation." It also includes a healthy postal service business and sideline sales that, together, account for 35 percent of sales and help "drive traffic to he store in this small community," according to Donna Paz of Paz & Associates, which is managing the sale.
The Booksmith first opened in 1989 "for the benefit of the [Lightweis's] four children and immediate surrounding community." In 1999, the Lightweises doubled the size of their store to its current 6,600 square feet. Paz says that the appeal of The Booksmith is its position as a "go-to-place" for a range of products and services, and its "beautiful setting in the mountains just south of Asheville, N.C."
The Lightweises plan to stay on briefly after the sale to ensure a successful transition.