New bookstore brings excitement and concerns

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 9:40 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - With the announcement of Barnes & Noble returning to Jonesboro there are mixed feelings, some people are excited to explore the big box store again, but one small business owner does not share that same feeling.

This announcement comes almost three years after the old location was taken out by a tornado and many book lovers like Jennifer Norton are thrilled to have the store back.

“I am looking forward to it. It’s a store that I have missed,” Norton said. “The fact that Barnes & Noble was gone was a disappointment.”

Norton was not alone.

Paragould resident Austin Weber said he felt like the area was underserved after the tornado, so he and his family opened a store of their own.

“Within our group of friends, there was just a constant talk and desire for a local bookstore after Barnes & Noble got hit by the tornado,” Weber said.

Weber’s Book House opened about a few months ago, and Austin said he is nervous because he knows they don’t have the resources to keep up with a store like Barnes & Noble.

“Slightly concerning because we don’t have the economy of scale that Barnes & Noble has, but I’m really hoping with us being a community bookstore, we can really draw on the community aspect of that,” Weber said.

Weber hopes to keep people in Paragould and throughout Greene County coming to his store, but those in Jonesboro are happy to have an option a little closer to home.

“I like to browse. I like to go into different sections, you know, the travel section, and see what they have, which is hard to do on Amazon,” Norton said.

There is no timetable for when the store might move in.