M. Judson opens doors to book lovers

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M. Judson Booksellers, a new independent bookstore located in the historic family court space next to the Westin Poinsett on Main Street in Greenville, opened its doors this week. A grand opening celebration is planned for the weekend of Aug. 14-16.

The bookstore is named for Mary Judson, a principal of Greenville Female College in the 19th century. Four founding members, Tricia Lightweis, Samantha Wallace, Ashley Warlick and June Wilcox, are responsible for pulling the store together.

The new store carries “Southern, place-based literature of every kind,” along with unique gifts and vintage housewares. A café inside the store serves beer and wine along with a custom house-blend coffee developed with Travelers Rest-based Leopard Forest Coffee Roasters. The founders have also teamed up with the Swamp Rabbit Café to offer baked goods and small-plate items such as chilled soups, canapés and salads, along with chocolates from Pickens chocolatier La Rue Fine Chocolates.

“The model of our store is very celebratory of food with the books we carry and the items we carry,” said Wallace. “We will offer interesting and seasonal foods with homemade tastes, featuring items from cookbooks we carry as an integration with the café side and the retail side.”

M. Judson is still seeking donations to open the Community Room, a place at the rear of the store where the founders envision a community hub as a dedicated, reservable space for writing classes, book clubs and meetings. To date, they have raised $10,000 of the $30,000 needed. Anyone who contributes will become a founder and have their name on a plaque in the room. More details are available online at mjudsonbooks.com and in the store.

At a preview event, Warlick said it took the partners almost three years to pull everything together for the bookstore.

“It’s been quite a journey,” said Wallace.

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