Friday night, May 30, at 5 p.m. the Changing Hands bookstore, a store that has served the Phoenix metropolitan area for 40 years, although it has always been in Tempe, opened a new store at 3rd Avenue and Camelback Road, in the central Phoenix corridor on the light rail line. This was the site of a famous old ritzy restaurant called Beefeaters, but that restaurant closed up a few years ago, leaving just some expensive real estate and the shell of a building behind. Changing hands is one of two great independent bookstores in the Phoenix area–the other one is the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. I’m an ex-librarian and an author (and a book accumulator). I love bookstores. I decided not to miss this gala event.
I got there about 4:45 p.m. The parking lot was already full, and Channel 10 television sent a news van to cover the story.
A pretty good crowd was already waiting for the doors to open. Many more would arrive in the next hour.
Looking at the front door of Changing Hands.
Cameraman from Channel 10 waits to get inside just like the rest of us.
The owner tells us the doors will open soon at about 5:06 p.m. A red ribbon has been strung across the entrance and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is ready to cut it and let people in.
5:07 p.m., the stampede begins. I am not the only person taking pictures of this historic event. 🙂
Mayor Stanton is in the center of this shot, facing camera, open face, fair complexion. I’m gonna give him props for caring about books!
Good stuff, nothing radical, in the Children’s section.
I also checked out the science fiction section.
One of the things I wanted to see was what they had in their Games section–looks like word games are popular.
What really makes this bookstore stand out, is that it has its own bar, called First Draft. That’s a nice pun since a draft is a manuscript that hasn’t been published, and also a glass of beer that hasn’t been quaffed yet. Draft is one of those words that has a lot of meanings–I wonder how that came about–which makes it ideal for punning.
I found a bucket of tentacles. Just what everybody needs, right?
Bookstore coffee cups. I kinda like personalized cups like this and have quite a few, though I didn’t buy this one. It’s a coffee cup, but First Draft is the bar–disconnect there.
I found a book I decided to buy. This book will reappear in a future blog. I have an idea how to get some mileage out of Weird Arizona.
People really flocked to the bar. Every seat was taken.
Here’s a rack full of bottles of wine. Why buy one glass when you buy the bottle?
This is a terrible shot of Mayor Stanton enjoying a glass of beer. I thought it might make blackmail material, but I cut off his head. Bwa ha ha ha! How do we feel about politicians? Off with their heads!
Here are my purchases for the night–a book and a beer glass from First Draft. I think my clerk’s name is Abby. She was very friendly and happy to be there.
Abby signed me up for the Changing Hands Reader Club. Every time I buy something I’ll get a stamp on the card. Eventually, it will get me a disount or something free.
I took my purchases out and stashed them in my car. I didn’t want to carry them around. I have grown rather fond of taking pix of myself as a reflection in my car. You can see I was there, but you can’t really see me.
5:30 p.m. the parking lot is really crowded now. People trying to get in were clearly disappointed when I didn’t leave yet.
Bookstore window from the outside. I was headed back for seconds, but . . .
I got distracted and went into the restaurant that was also having its opening night. These ladies greeted me at the door and explained things. The blonde told me she was a vampire–she has the teeth, but I don’t think she’s a blood drinker.
I wound up sitting at the community table–a place for people without reservations.
I drank chicory coffee black
and ate chicken gumbo. It’s very spicy, but very good.
and I got my picture taken there at the Southern Rail restaurant with my server. What a pretty girl!
Many years ago this whole building was a famous Phoenix restaurant called Beefeaters. One of the waiters explained that the chandeliers and the walls were just about all that remained from the Beefeater establishment.
I finished off the gumbo. I drank a second cup of very bitter chicory coffee–at least it’s strong, you can taste it, and got the bill. When I tried to use my credit card to pay for it, the manager came by and said they couldn’t take credit yet, and comped me my meal. Nice!
After the meal, I went back and made one last pass through the bookstore.
I took a selfie . . .
and went on my way back home. The whole experience took just under 2 hours.
I’m glad I went to the opening of the Changing Hands bookstore. I had a good time. It’s a great independent bookstore, and the kind of place I can show off to visitors from other cities. It has more than books, and would be a good place to do Christmas and birthday shopping. I’m hoping that Changing Hands will have a long successful run here in Phoenix.
If you’ve ever gone to a bookstore opening, or even if you just like to hang out in such places, why not leave a comment?