REPORTS OF THE DEMISE OF BRICK-AND-MORTAR BOOKSTORES HAVE BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED
by Sam Fryberger
Visible Voice Books is back. After a three-year hiatus, the urban literary retreat is reopening its doors. “It’s the same philosophy, same neighborhood and same proprietor—but we’ve doubled our space and centralized our location,” says owner Dave Ferrante, who transformed the Komorowski building on Professor Avenue in Tremont (2258 Professor Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44113 | 216.961.0084 | visiblevoicebooks.com).
“We’ve added more magazines, literary gifts and genres.We’re enhancing sections like fiction and cooking—something that’s important in a neighborhood known as a dining destination.” The new location also includes a 26-car parking lot—a definite plus in a Cleveland community filled with pubs, shops and eateries.
The additional square footage also has allowed Ferrante to integrate a café. Now, in addition to a rotating array of seasonal wines and craft beer, Visible Voice will offer locally-made pastries from Sweet Tooth Confections, specialty teas and brew-in-house coffee from award-winning, sustainability-minded roaster Gimme! Coffee.
Although Visible Voice Books officially reopens Wednesday, September 27, Crust opened as a full-service Italian restaurant with a bar and seating for 60+ on the building’s first floor in August. “Crust was across the street from our old location and people would visit the bookstore after they ordered,” says Ferrante. “In these closer quarters it’s even more tempting to browse the literature at Visible Voice while you’re waiting on a pizza.” There are even plans for the two businesses to share a patio and event space in the future.
Ferrante passion for the transformative power of literature has never wavered. “These past three years I have been making lists of books and lists of what I could do to refocus and strengthen the store,” says Ferrante. “The idea of reopening was never really out of mind for very long. For better or for worse, I would not be the person I am now if it was not for all the reading I have done throughout my life. Literature widens your world view and opens you up to understanding the struggles, motivations and will of others.”
And asked why in this age of e-books and online shopping he felt it was important to relaunch a brick-and-mortar store, Ferrante responds, “People tend to purchase specific items online. An independent bookstore lets you serendipitously discover books and authors you may have never have otherwise known you were interested in or existed.”
The store will offer limited hours beginning September 20 and open fully to the public on September 27. For direction and information, visit visiblevoicebooks.com.