Greensboro, N.C., is the latest city to get a wine bar/bookstore. Long-time bookseller Brian Lampkin and Greg Grieve, a religious studies professor at UNC Greensboro, will open Scuppernong Books in downtown Greensboro in February 2014. The 3,200 sq. ft. new and used bookstore, named for the North Carolina state fruit—the Scuppernong grape—will offer a wine and coffee bar and carry around 10,000 titles, 80% of which will be new.
Lampkin believes Greensboro is ready to “turn a corner, especially downtown.” He witnessed opportunity present itself for resourceful businesses after the economic downturn in his hometown of Buffalo, and believes the same opportunity exists today in Greensboro. “We're risking a lot,” said Lampkin, who previously owned Rust Belt Books in Buffalo, N.Y. “Neither of us is wealthy, but a local bank in Greensboro is brave enough to back us, and some family and friends have been angel investors. Many people consider a brick and mortar bookstore folly, I suppose, but the visceral response from our community here in Greensboro reminds us how important bookstores are to many of us.”
Lampkin and Grieve see the wine bar, a trend amongst bookstores like Bookbar in Denver, Colo., and Changing Hands in Phoenix, Ariz., as a kindness dispensed to parents looking for a break. “We wanted an 'adult' place where parents could find respite from the hard lonely hours of parenting, where they could find company,” said Lampkin. Along with a coffee and wine bar, Scuppernong Books will offer space to non-profits for meetings, sponsor book clubs, and support author readings and events. “Scuppernong Books needs to be an active component in the intellectual life of Greensboro, as well as a comfortable and kind place to land," Lampkin said. "I think kindness is a very underrated word in the business world. We'd love to be kind--and have kindness returned.”