Plans had been in the works since 2009 when he purchased the URL that is now his bookstore’s website. Smith admits that without the encouragement of his wife, Charity Smith, he never would have opened the store.
“I’ve always had a love and passion for books,” said Smith and with the closing of Vintage Books and the impending closing of Hastings, James said the timing was “just impeccable” for the opening of their bookstore.
The Bookwheel sells new and used books. They also buy back used books and have a 20 percent discount for all Tech students.
The Bookwheel had an unofficial opening on April 4, but made sure to tell their customers the store was still a “work-in-progress.”
“I tell people it’s sort of like build-a-bookstore,” James said.
The store is constantly getting in new and used products and it is all based around what the customers want and are asking for, he said.
The official grand opening was on Aug. 9. For their grand opening, they had Tech professor and local author Dr. Stanley Lombardo do a book signing for them.
Since their grand opening, The Bookwheel has seen a lot of traffic, according to James.
“More and more new people come in every day,” James said.
Though they still cater to their regulars as well.
“We have people who come in here like every other day,” said Charity.
Though The Bookwheel has not been open for long, it will soon be moving.
Currently The Bookwheel is located in a small shopping center on East Parkway near Vape City. The Bookwheel will be staying in the same shopping center, but will be moving to a bigger building that used to be occupied by Kaleidoclasm.
James and Charity are currently the only ones who work in the store. They hope to be able to hire sometime next year, but for now, they are happy right where they are.
“This is just, essentially, the realization of a dream I’ve had for a long time,” James said.