Bibliophiles, this is the store highlight you’ve been waiting for — and Read Shop is a book lover’s paradise. In the store, brightly colored titles are set against posh navy walls. Buttery, leather, mid-century mod furniture beckons patrons to sit and flip through their favorite finds while French bistro sets create a space to stop and enjoy the surroundings. In essence, Read Shop is capturing our attention, one bestseller at a time.
Located in Vinings Jubilee, Read Shop is the latest concept by The Merchant and, specifically, owner Dan Collier. “Paper is really what we are really all about — the many uses of paper and the many forms that paper comes in — so you will find magazines, journals, stationery, counter cards and lots and lots of books.” Visitors at any of Dan’s stores will quickly find similarities in aesthetics and merchandise, noting the vast selection of greeting cards and an overall look that just screams Daniel Richards. Dan says this distinctive branding look is thanks to his team. “We have very talented people that constantly keep me on point. There are a lot of looks that I am attracted to but, of course, there are many that I have no interest in. We will never have a shabby chic vibe … that’s just (not) who we are.”
When searching for a location for his novel endeavor, Dan felt Vinings seemed like the obvious choice. He recalls, “I thought the location that opened up at Vinings Jubilee really spoke to me; that a bookstore would be great in that area.” With more than 20 years of merchant experience (no pun intended), Dan has learned a thing or two about opening new stores. His success with The Merchant now manifests itself in two locations: one on Howell Mill and one at Krog Street Market — and he didn’t stop there. Archer Paper Goods and Collier Candy Company, both at Ponce City Market, also are some of Dan’s visions turned reality.
But Read Shop, while cut from the same cloth, is a unique concept for Dan. As a book lover himself and, coupled with a long history of book sales, Dan has created a noteworthy shop worth getting lost in. He says, “Read Shop is not big enough to carry everything and I really don’t want it jammed full of books in every nook, so I have curated what I think is cool; what I would buy if and when I would go into a book store. I really have an interest in books and authors.”
Walking around the store, this interest is clear. On any given shelf, you might find anything from a classic like Black Beauty to a conversation starter like The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray. Also not to be missed is the vast selection of cookbooks a la Big Gay Ice Cream and comical titles like Tinder Nightmares. Curating the collection is part of the fun for Dan. “Expect to find the newest of new books (think The New York Times Bestsellers lists) and random books that I like or have read over the last 40 years.”
The store is organized by genre — not alphabetically — with all covers facing out. This, of course, is part of Dan’s strategy of success. “I carry books that I would have in my home. I always say that book covers sell books. And my selection, a lot of time, depends on if the book caught my eye visually, first.” Think about it: When was the last time you bought a book that didn’t have a beautiful, eye-catching cover?!
At its core, Read Shop really ups the ante for the Atlanta independent bookstore scene. Dan has plans for Read Shop beyond its humble beginnings, too. He’s transparent with his plans to have a full-service coffee shop within the store walls soon and he admits that his dream for Read Shop stretches beyond Vinings. “I would love to own a bunch of successful bookstores,” he says. With visually intoxicating covers, unique titles, fantastic decor and a selection fit for the avid and novice reader, alike, Read Shop is sure to be a mainstay. As for Dan’s current favorite read? “A Manual For Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin. She is the best writer you have never heard of — a must have.”
While Dan is focused on the success of Read Shop, he admits that there is something much bigger at work, explaining, “Independent bookstores are few and far between and not many people own stand-alone boutique bookstores. I want people to support all local bookstores. They need your purchases to keep going. I love a random bookstore in a random city more than anyone. Let’s keep these guys in business!” Here’s to Atlanta’s latest independent bookstore, Read Shop. Long may she reign.
Read Shop is located at 4300 Paces Ferry Road S.E., Atlanta, GA 30339. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Learn more at readshopatl.com.
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