After a trial run and a soft opening, Dog Ear Books officially opened its doors to the public on Friday.
The grand opening lasted from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., where there were giveaways, live music and free food. Dog Ear Books is owned by mother-daughter duo Pat and Emily Young.
Inside Dog Ear Books is free Wi-Fi and an assortment of couches, chairs and tables. Pat and Emily want Dog Ear to be a place for the community to use, be it for studying, classes and clubs or hanging out with friends. According to Dog Ear’s Instagram, well-behaved dogs on leashes are always welcome.
“We are a bookstore, but we also want to be a destination,” Emily said. “A place for people to come hang out and build a community.”
On top of seating, Dog Ear also has classroom space, a balcony that is off-limits to children, a movie projector, a coffee bar and a stage. They plan on hosting a variety of events, including poetry readings, stand-up comedy, open mic nights, movie nights and book readings.
When choosing the location, Pat and Emily only looked at spaces downtown.
“Emily has always had a real passion for downtown and I love it,” Pat said. “I share that passion. We both really want to help build downtown Russellville and make this a community place where people want to come to.”
When they found 301 W. Main St. it was run down, but they knew it had potential.
“We came in and it was a disaster,” Pat said, laughing. “It had bright yellow walls and old fans, but we decided it was one of those ‘go big or go home’ type things.”
Emily said she had been seriously considering opening a bookstore for a year. When she heard that Hastings was closing, she knew it was perfect timing.
Pat and Emily said they were upset about Hastings closing, but because of that they were able to buy some of their bookshelves.
“Hastings kind of still lives on in our store,” Pat said.
Because Dog Ear Books carries several different book genres, Pat and Emily made it a point to hire people with diverse literary preferences.
“We have a great crew,” Pat said. “We are very happy with the way it’s turning out. We have learned so much. It’s fun working with my daughter. When we really get our heads together and start churning out ideas, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Pat and Emily are open to suggestions and new ideas to improve their bookstore.
“If anyone has ideas, please tell us,” Emily said. “If it’s reasonable, we will try to make it happen.”
For more information and to follow along on their journey, visit www.ilovedogear.com.
(Hours are subject to change as time progresses.)