By Shrinking Violet Field Reporter Elizabeth Loupas
Tucked away like an unexpected treasure on the shady streets of Roanoke, Texas, is THE BOOK CARRIAGE—a locally-owned bookstore that brings together everything delightful about independent bookselling.
The dream business of owners Larry and Angie Granados, The Book Carriage opened in November 2008 in a brick storefront on Roanoke’s Oak Street. When I walked in, I thought: “How beautifully they’ve restored this lovely old building!" Angie Granados laughed as she offered me a mocha lattè (to die for) and sat down with me to chat at one of the coffeehouse-style tables. “We built the building from scratch,” she said. “It’s all new. But you’re not the first person to comment on the ‘restored’ feel. I take that as a great compliment.”
First, of course, books. The Book Carriage has a hand-picked and beautifully displayed selection, including everything from New York Times bestsellers to fascinating history books by local authors. Want something a little out of the ordinary? A friendly bookseller will order it for you and call you when it arrives. And chat with you about other books you might like when you go in to pick it up. It’s personalized bookselling by people who truly love books and the delights of reading.
The children’s corner is decorated with a floor-to-ceiling hand-painted mural by a local artist. Toys and a comfy rug for sitting cross-legged and poring over picture books add to the charm. Every weekend The Book Carriage hosts children’s story times—a treat for the kids and a moment of respite for the parents, who can relax with a cup of espresso and a muffin.
And that’s not just any espresso. The Book Carriage is the proud owner of a La Marzocco Espresso Machine, handcrafted in Florence, Italy and considered the gold standard in the specialty coffee industry. Here you see barista Keith Nolan preparing a lattè, complete with a complicated and delightful feather design in the froth.
The Book Carriage also hangs art by local artists, and in its saloon-style upper level are tucked away meeting rooms for book clubs and other local groups. Halfway down the beautifully finished stairway is a miniature stage where local musicians play on Saturday nights. There’s a gift corner and tables for coffee-drinkers, with free Wi-Fi.
But the heart of The Book Carriage is its staff. From left to right, bookseller Samuel Granados, co-owners Larry and Angie Granados, and barista Keith Nolan.
“Larry and I always wanted to retire early and start our own business,” Angie Granados said. “We fell in love with Roanoke, and we’ve both found our true callings as independent booksellers. We had so much to learn! We joined ABA and spent an intense week in their Booksellers School, and when we came home we got to work.”
Angie’s smile glowed and her enthusiasm was irresistible. “I’ve always loved books and art and music and teaching,” she said. “And it’s all part of The Book Carriage.”
ELIZABETH LOUPAS is a freelance writer and novelist who lives in Coppell, Texas, just a hoehandle down the road from Roanoke. She hopes to have good news soon about her first book, The Second Duchess, a historical novel based on Robert Browning’s narrative poem “My Last Duchess.”
Elizabeth hates housework, cold weather, and wearing shoes. She loves books, animals, gardens, and popcorn. Not surprisingly she lives in a state of happy barefoot chaos with several rooms full of books, an herb garden, a popcorn popper, and two beagles.