For Catherine Carter, bringing an independently owned bookstore to Danville less than two weeks ago has already brought its share of rewards.
“It’s been a really humbling experience,” Carter, 27, said during an interview Thursday at her new Main Street business, Dog-Eared Page Bookshop. “It has just been an influx of positivity, support and well-wishes.”
Carter, who opened the bookstore Aug. 21 and held a grand opening three days later, grew up surrounded by books.
“My parents are big readers,” she said.
Her mother would always take her to the bookstore when Carter was a kid. She remembers when News & Novels was open in Danville years ago and B. Dalton was a staple at what was then Piedmont Mall.
But those stores shuttered long ago and for a long time, Danville did not have a stand-alone bookstore.
Now that Carter has started her own book-selling venture, she gets to be in the midst of Danville’s downtown re-emergence.
“I do really love the revitalization that’s happened down here,” she said. “I love seeing businesses and people thrive down here and I love being part of that.”
Her bookshop packs a wide variety of genres into a small space at 525 Main St. — young adult, fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, action and westerns, cooking, arts and crafts, travel, romance, crime, non-fiction, Christian books, and the classics.
There is also a small used-book section and a lounge in the back room where customers can unwind.
Carter was awarded a $25,000 grant for her business idea in April 2020 following her participation in the River District Association’s Dream Launch bootcamp program.
The association conducts a free six-week Dream Launch bootcamp to help entrepreneurs go into business with the knowledge they need to start, and to also strengthen existing business. Those that complete the six-week bootcamp are then eligible to pitch for grant funding for their chosen business endeavor.
“We’re so thrilled she was able to take the classes and pitch in the business competition and do everything else she needed to do to make it happen,” said River District Association Executive Director Diana Schwartz.
She also praised Carter’s business and the role it will play in offering more retail options.
“It diversifies our options even more,” Schwartz said.
For Danville City Manager Ken Larking, Dog-Eared Page Bookshop is “a sign that our economy is improving and that we’re able to offer more retail amenities. It meets a need that has been expressed to me many times before.”
Carter’s idea for her store’s name is two-fold. When she comes to a stop while reading a book, she “dog-ears” her pages, or folds in the upper corner.
But also, when you “dog-ear” a page, “you’re pressing pause,” she added. And Carter hopes her customers will be able to do the same at her bookshop.
“They can just kind of come in and exhale and enjoy their time here,” Carter said.
One customer, and her three young kids, expressed excitement upon entering the store. The mother, Kyle King, referred to Carter’s grand opening held Aug. 24.
“You opened Tuesday, so I said to the kids, ‘Let’s go,’” King told Carter.
King, a school librarian, told the Danville Register & Bee, “I’m excited to see books here in the city for kids and adults. I do like to support local businesses.”