There is still hope that Roanoke will once again see an independent bookstore selling new releases.
Christine Hastings, longtime manager of the former Ram’s Head Book Shop at Towers Shopping Center, is still working toward opening a smaller version of the store that closed more than a year ago.
“I haven’t given up,” Hastings said. “It’s just been a little more challenging than I thought.”
Ram’s Head closed when the store’s founders, John and Lolly Rosemond, decided to retire after 47 years.
Hastings said at the time that she wanted to reopen the store. She began researching the process, but put her plans on hold last fall because she didn’t want to open during the holidays or winter months.
Now she is back to plotting, but her biggest hurdle remains funding, she said. She needs a substantial amount of money to purchase stock, because Ram’s Head’s inventory was liquidated.
If Hastings’ plans come to fruition, she’d like to reopen at Towers, maybe this summer, she said.
She hasn’t decided whether she would keep the Ram’s Head name or go with something slightly different.
Hastings has been working at Too Many Books in Grandin Village and said she still believes there is a market for physical books, and independent bookstores, in the digital age.
Independent bookstores such as Too Many Books, Paperback Exchange and Givens Books, which all sell used volumes, have a better handle on what customers want than chain stores, Hastings said.
Working at Too Many Books has helped her keep in touch with the community’s reading habits, and she’s also noticed that even technology lovers put down their reading tablets in favor of ink on paper.
“There is a place for real books,” she said. “Even people who have Kindles are still using real books.”
Also in the column, the owner of the Ivy Market site in Roanoke is still talking with interested developers, and Salem’s Parkway Brewing Co.’s beers are available at many restaurants in the area.