Changing Hands Bookstore, which has been in business in Tempe, Az. since 1974, announced that it will open a second store in The Newton, a mixed-use space for dining and shopping that will open in Phoenix in November 2013.
"We are extraordinarily happy about this," said Changing Hands co-owner Gayle Shanks, who had just come from the groundbreaking ceremony on the site where the beloved Beef Eater restaurant sat for 45 years before closing in 2006. "I expected 60 people to show up for the groundbreaking, but there were 200 at the event," Shanks said. "It touches my heart. Not only are people happy that Central Phoenix will finally have a general bookstore, but also that the new store will keep money coming in to the local economy." Shanks estimates that between 15 and 20 new employees will be hired to run the new 5,000 square-foot store.
The Newton is being developed by the redevelopment team of Venue Projects. Construction begins this month, and the space will also include the restaurant Beckett's Table, and The Lively Hood, a meeting and event venue. The site is across the street from a light rail stop, and its parking lot will be made available to The Newton's customers. "We have so many customers in Phoenix who have faithfully made the 15-mile drive to shop at our store in Tempe," Shanks says."They've been asking us for years to open a second store in their area. The traffic here has gotten much worse over the years, so the location of the new store will make our customers happy."
"Venue Projects approached us a while back," Shanks said. "We had to make it clear to them that booksellers can't afford expensive places; that we have to be able to survive and thrive. They've turned out to be wonderful people who understand the sense of a Third Place, where community interaction takes place. This is the very nature of a bookstore." The Phoenix store, which plans to open on November 1, will have its own identity apart from the original Changing Hands. It will stock a greater number of art, architecture, and design books and an expanded children's section. "We'll also have a beer and wine bar in the store, something that's brand new to us. In fact, we're still working on our business plan because we're not sure how much additional business the bar will bring in." Changing Hands is recognized as one of the country's best independent bookstores, and won Publishers Weekly's Bookseller of the Year award in 2007.