Its owner, Chris McCoy, is reluctantly giving it up after five years, citing business and family obligations.
â€œIâ€™m two weeks a month in Nashville,â€ he says, mentioning a recent addition to the family, a grandchild whose father â€“ McCoyâ€™s son â€“ is deployed to Ukraine.
â€œI would love to keep it. But it needs someone there nurturing it, if not every day, pretty often.â€
McCoy purchased the now 52-year-old business, one of Canton Martâ€™s original tenants, in 2013 after the passing of the longtime owner, Margaret McMullen. An avid reader, McCoy was on a shopping trip when the opportunity arose.
â€œI was in the store and talking to Margaretâ€™s son, Mark, and he said he was going to close the store (after her death),â€ McCoy recalls. â€œAt the time, it had been there 46â€¦ 47 years? I said, â€˜You canâ€™t sell it?â€™â€
By the time he got home, McCoy had agreed to buy it. He broke the news to his wife by saying, â€œI bought a few books.â€
â€œIt was affordable, it was making money and it was self-supporting,â€ McCoy recounts.
The Book Rack carries all genres, mainly paperbacks, from vintage to current release, categorized by genre and alphabetized. McCoy says, â€œGive credit to Cheryl & Bob Blackledge for that task in my first year there.â€ He adds, â€œI can find the books. And theyâ€™re in the computer.â€
McCoy says overall sales trends at the store are up. Inventory is completely computerized and online, and linked to Amazon and â€œa half dozen other e-commerce sites.â€
â€œBut I donâ€™t have (that sales function) turned on right now,â€ McCoy says. â€œI donâ€™t have time. Thatâ€™s why it needs a hands-on (owner). Itâ€™s great for a retired person, great for a part-timer. Itâ€™s a stay-at-home parent or grandparent job. Itâ€™s just a good opportunity for someone like that.â€
His location, at Canton Mart Square in LeFleur East, comes with a priceless landlord.
â€œSteve (Baker) is great,â€ McCoy says. â€œHeâ€™s responsive, treats you right, things are reasonableâ€¦ things are clean. Itâ€™s a great place to do business. That tows the party line, I know. Everyone says it, but itâ€™s true.â€
A wholesale printer for years, McCoy sold his full-time business four years ago, took an eight-month sabbatical, then decided to go to work selling office supplies, printing and promotional products. A franchise of ABS â€“ American Business Solutions â€“ McCoyâ€™s virtual office supply store offers local service, which, he says, is able to compete with the big box stores, even the local guys.
Will McCoy miss The Book Rack?
â€œTerribly,â€ he says. â€œI worked in there five days a week for a long time. I hate to sell. But if youâ€™re not in there working it, itâ€™s not The Book Rack. Itâ€™s just a bookstore.â€