Union Avenue Books’ New Look

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

It was two months ago today that Union Avenue Books announced plans to expand their floor space by about fifty percent. The recently vacated storefront beside them offered the possibility of bumping up to around 2100 square feet. It was great news to learn that Knoxville has supported its independent book store enough to warrant expansion.

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

Now the plans have been realized and the change is wonderful though, oddly, it simply feels like it should have been this way from the beginning. An arch was built into the wall separating the two spaces, revealing that the two floors are not the same height, so there’s a little step down to watch.

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

The expansion allowed for multiple improvements and more may be yet to come. All interior books displays in the back half of the new side are portable, allowing them to be moved out of the way when special events such as author readings require space for a crowd. If you’ve been in the store during an event before the expansion, you’ll recall how crowded it was and how difficult to move around and to see.

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

Events now are much nicer, with plenty of space and a brand new set of folding chairs affording seating for significant numbers of patrons. It’s also a space available for book groups and others. This has allowed the book store to schedule more events than before and it will allow them to schedule authors who draw larger crowds.

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

Beyond the increased space for author events, the expansion has allowed room for the books to breathe. It’s simply a more pleasant experience to wander through the store with plenty of room to pass other patrons and easy access to the books. Additionally, some sections have been or will be expanded based on demand.

Union Avenue Books, Post Expansion, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville, October 2018

So, the already attractive little book store that could is just a little more attractive and a little less little. If you haven’t made it by there to check it out, please do so. It’s an important business in the heart of downtown. And while you are there, pick up a book, a gift, a calendar or something else and support our little (bigger) independent book store.

Comments

  1. The new space looks great! We buy all our books there and will continue to do so. It’s wonderful to have this welcoming independent bookstore downtown, and I’m proud that Knoxvillians have provided enough support to warrant this expansion. Echoing NMMF, very civilized of us!

  2. Indeed fabulous!

  3. Congratulations to the owners on the expansion! An independent bookstore is the hallmark of a civilized city, and Knoxville should be proud of this bookish jewel. The owners are always warm, welcoming and knowledgeable, and their eclectic selection of books runs the gamut from popular fiction and children’s books to the classics and current bestsellers. Also nice that a good coffee-shop has opened next door. The orange tables and chairs outside are an inviting presence. I hope many more Knoxvillians show up to get their literary fix.

  4. Beautiful. I haven’t been there in a little bit but will definitely stop by this weekend.

  5. Chris Eaker says:

    That looks great. It’s unfortunate that the floors are different elevations. Are they considering a short ramp forwheelchair access between the two sides? It looks like it’s only about a 6-inch difference so the ramp would have to be about 6 feet long. Not ideal, but it be more accommodating.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      Not that I know of. At six feet into the space and making a new ridge of it’s own to each side, I’m not sure that would help. They’ve got it wildly marked and people seem to have gotten used to a little step down.

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