Turning the page: Bookstore closes doors after 18-year run

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 1, 2018


NATCHEZ — After 18 years of operation, Turning Pages Books & More on Franklin Street closed its doors for good Thursday.

The bookstore began, owner and operator Mary Emrick said, out of a simple love of books.

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“We all just love bookstores,” Emrick said. “That’s why we’re all here.”

The little shop on Franklin is filled with books — on every wall, on every table and surface. Along the ceiling hang posters of great novels, from “Gone with the Wind,” to “The Help.”

And the little store displays an emphasis on Mississippi authors — an entire shelf of the bookstore is dedicated to Natchez author Greg Iles.

Accompanying the rows of books and knick-knacks for travelers are four familiar faces.

Donna Harrison, Becky Spears and Pat Butler all have worked at the little store since it began.

“We’re like family now,” Spears said. “Like sisters.”

The ladies have all worked together for more than 15 years, and for much of that time, their lives have revolved around one another.

“I just followed the books,” Spears said. “Wherever they go, I go. Now, I don’t really know what I’ll do.”

Also familiar to patrons of Turning Pages is Sugar, the little West Highland White Terrier who has spent all 13 years of her life in the bookstore.

“People are going to miss her,” Emrick said. “They ask all the time, ‘Where is Sugar today?’”

Several customers came by to say goodbye or to tell the four ladies how much they loved the bookstore.

“I’m not going to be sad today,” Emrick said. “I’ll cry tomorrow.”

Behind the bookstore, past glass-paned French doors that stretch all the way to the ceiling, is a brick patio with a painted mural of Natchez.

The mural depicts hallmarks of downtown Natchez, St. Mary Cathedral, the fountain in Memorial Park. The fountain, Emrick said, is what she will perhaps miss most.

“It’s the only thing I can’t take with me,” she said. “It’s the only thing I’ll leave behind.”

When all the customers were gone, the ladies passed around gifts and broke their promises not to cry.

“We’ll stay close,” Spears said, smiling. “We’re like family now.”