by Tierra Smith
After a long, three-year wait, Visible Voice Books has returned to Tremont in a new location: 2258 Professor Avenue. Manager Aaron Turkel runs the day-to-day operations of Visible Voice Books, now with more store space, more parking, and a café. We sat down with Turkel just before the book store’s opening day for a one-on-one conversation.
Tremonster: Aaron, with Amazon selling books online, is there still a need for a physical book store?
Turkel: Are you kidding? Absolutely. There’s something about the physical bookstore experience, where you can pick up a book, and next to that book on the shelf there might be something that would have never otherwise crossed your path. The cool thing about browsing a physical bookstore is that the new ideas are all around you, and you can be exposed to something you never would have otherwise seen. Amazon has algorithms built in: “If you like this, you might also like this, and this, and this.” But there is all kinds of cool stuff just sitting in the shelves immediately surrounding us. And, of course, everything that goes with being a local, independent retailer: shopping local; shopping small. We’re a Tremont bookstore—we’re a neighborhood business.
Tremonster: Why did Visible Voice Books decide to re-open in a new location?
Turkel: The old bookstore on Kenilworth Avenue had a good run. It closed in 2014—for a number of reasons, the time was right to close the store. This building came up for sale and the time was right. David [Ferrante] purchased the building. Crust was looking to move in and go full-service, which they’re able to do, downstairs, and we actually have more space up here for more books. It may not feel as big as the old store because it’s more of an open-concept floorplan, but there is actually more shelf square footage for more books than the old store had.
Tremonster: Are you seeing more success with the change to the location on Professor Avenue?
Turkel: One of the struggles with the old location on Kenilworth was that it is off the beaten path a little bit—it’s difficult to find if you don’t know where it is, already. So, being right here, on Professor Ave., across from all these fabulous restaurants, and, of course, our neighbors on this side of the street, you know, we’re right here, in the thick of it.
Tremonster: You mentioned Visible Voice Books parking spaces, as well…
Curry: If you’ve been out in Tremont on a weekend, of course, you know parking is at a premium. The coolest thing about this building—well, one of the coolest—is 26 parking spots right outside our door. It’s reserved just for Visible Voice Books and Crust Pizza. When you come here, you don’t have to fret about parking on the street, or valeting, or anything like that—right here, a couple of parking spots outside the door.
Tremonster: What can customers do here, besides shop around for books?
Turkel: In addition to having all of these beautiful books all around us, we also have a café section; beer and wine available, coffee, tea, and pastries. Our pastry chef is phenomenal—Ange Lupica of Sweet Teeth Bakery. There’s a beautiful cupcake in the pastry case that I can’t stop staring at. So: beer, wine, coffee, tea, pastries, books, we-fi.
Tremonster: It’s a great atmosphere.
Turkel: It’s nice, you can take your time, glass of wine, browse the shelves…even buy a book, sit in the café, and read it.
Tremonster: Thank you so much.
Visible Voice Books is back, stronger than ever, in its new spot on Professor Avenue. Stop by the next time you’re inclined to slow down, have a glass of wine, and remind yourself of all the little differences between browsing a bookshelf rather than searching a screen. Visible Voice Books is open Wednesdays/Thursdays 12-8 p.m., Fridays 12-10 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sundays 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at 2258 Professor Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44113. For more information, call 216.961.0084, or visit visiblevoicebooks.com.