On Friday, Parnassus Books celebrated its one-year anniversary. Co-owners Ann Patchett and Karen Hayes opened the doors to all who supported and contributed to the store's first year in business. A steady stream of authors, readers, and local patrons filled the newly expanded 3,150 square-foot space throughout the night. With a crowd gathered in the main room, Patchett and Hayes addressed attendees to thank them for believing in the Nashville, Tenn., indie bookstore.
Patchett spoke about how an independent bookstore with community interaction and support can compete with the low pricing, and transactional relationship, of online retailers. She cited the feedback she receives, stating the best value for the reader is in the relationship--built not just on the lowest price. As she put it: "We are a community center. We are the place that you can come and bring your kids, and bring your date, and hang out and know your friends and talk about books."
"It has been a phenomenal, thriving business venture," she said. Then she added: "When people say to me this industry is dead, I say look around. Look at the people in Nashville. This is not dead."
While the store intends to stay small, it has expanded recently. Hayes said they want to find the right balance to fit their needs and maintain intimacy and comfort for their customers. “The amount of author events we’ve had has kept us running, and the expansion was crucial.” Hayes is also looking forward to a strong holiday season. "We are really optimistic about the holidays, and are already seeing a big increase in our sales. We think [holiday sales] will be very successful."