Turning Pages bookstore looks forward to relocation

Published 2:15 pm Sunday, February 25, 2007

The new Franklin Street location of Turning Pages Books & More will not duplicate the well-loved bookstore space on Washington Street, but business owner Mary Emrick is certain she is taking the ambience with her.

From a picturesque house-turned-bookstore at 208 Washington, the business will move into newly restored quarters at 520 Franklin, which old-timers will remember as the former Geisenberger Drug Store.

Emrick walked through the new space earlier in the week, weaving her way through carpenters, painters and others who are hastening to finish the interior in time for her to move by March 3.

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“I asked (contracter) Danny Smith if they could work a little harder and have it done by then,” Emrick said. “They are really working hard to do that, and I think everything is going to come together right at the end.”

She pointed out where shelves will go, where stickers on the wall indicate colors to be painted and the large windows customized to allow light to come through the back of the store from the small courtyard.

“The square footage here is about the same as on Washington Street,” Emrick said. “But we added a little office and a kitchenette and lost a little space. So we took some space from the courtyard to make part of the office.”

Basement storage will be a plus, especially with a dumb waiter that will operate like an elevator to allow store employees to move books from one floor to another.

Emrick began looking for a new location once she saw the changes taking place in the Washington Street neighborhood, where Turning Pages has been located for six years.

“The area we’re in now has changed. The shops at the Depot are gone and the tour headquarters is gone.”

The Canal Street Depot, located along Canal Street between Washington and State streets, once a quaint shopping center, now is under renovation as a condominium development.

Natchez Pilgrimage Tours moved to the Visitors Center a few blocks down Canal Street.

“We still have all our loyal local customers, but we miss the tourists we used to have,” Emrick said. “We have a good location on Franklin Street, which I think is the up and coming place to be.”

The new store features a small fireplace that will be fitted with gas logs for warmth and warm greeting on cool days. Area rugs on the hardwood floors will define spaces in the store.

The courtyard will be furnished and available for those who want to sit outside to read or for children’s parties, Emrick said.

“We’ll offer our same services of book searches, special orders and gift wrap at no charge. And we’ll still package books for shipping,” she said.

“We’ve worked on the restoration since the middle of October,” she said.

“I hope the bookstore will help the other shops that are our neighbors. I know they will help me.”