Introducing Lithic Bookstore
Kyle Harvey, author of the excellent chapbook July (poetry, smart and spare, recurring lines in a variety of tones, spatial, earthy and astronomical, very elegantly designed and produced), recently contacted me to buy some Publishing Genius books for a bookstore that just opened in Fruita, Colorado. I looked up Fruita. It’s way out there. We’ve got this whole country.
I asked Kyle some questions about opening a literature store there.
Is it a permanent thing or a popup shop?
Lithic Bookstore & Gallery is a permanent shop that will offer a fantastic selection of books, art openings, handmade goods and other curiosities.
So you just had your launch party. How’d it go?
The opening went fantastic. We hosted a couple poetry readings (a book launch for the newest Lithic Press title, Going Down Grand, and another featuring Lithic Press poet Juan Morales), as well as a panel discussion called, “What’s Modernism Got To Do With It?” Really great turnouts for all three events.
Where is this shangrila?
It’s located in Fruita, Colorado.
Yeah, but can you tell me more about Fruita? What’s a typical day like there?
Fruita, Colorado is in the heart of New West. This is to say, Fruita has agricultural roots, but, like much of the west, is growing and attracting outdoor enthusiasts (mountain biking, backpacking, rafting) artists, writers and wanderers. It’s known for being some of the best mountain biking in the world. It’s also an important paleontological destination. There’s a weekly rodeo. A really interesting mix of people… old/new guard… and everyone gets along pretty well.
Geographically, Fruita is located on the western slope of the Rockies, nestled in between the Book Cliffs and the Colorado National Monument, along the Colorado River, in what’s known as the Grand Valley… about 15-20 miles from the Utah border and 12 miles from Grand Junction. It’s really beautiful, juniper-pinyon canyon country… 300+ days of sunshine per year.
It’s a funky, small town with a dinosaur statue (Grrrreta) in the town square (which is actually a circle). Downtown Fruita is a couple blocks worth of local businesses… a couple breweries (Copper Club and Suds Brothers), Hot Tomato Pizzeria (quite possibly the best pizza west of New York), Aspen Street Coffee, Cavalcade (performance venue), Vintage Common (handmade and vintage fashion), No Coast Sushi, Roan Creek Grocery (local/regional), Over The Edge (mountain bike shop), art galleries, etc. Generally the parking spots are filled with mountain bike roof rack’d vehicles.
What’s the nearest airport, in case I want to hurry on over?
The closest airport is the Grand Junction Regional Airport, which is about 20 minutes away. Come visit!
Back to the bookstore. What’s the focus on what you’re selling? How many titles will you carry?
The literary focus is poetry heavy, though we also feature books on astronomy, geology, human history, quantum physics, etc. We opened with around 1,500 titles, many of which are from small presses.
Does the shop integrate with Lithic Press at all?
It does, in fact, integrate with Lithic Press. The space will also house our office/workspace for designing and laying out Lithic Press titles, broadsides and other ephemera. Lithic was founded by Danny Rosen in 2007 as a way to publish the work of Jack Mueller (lifelong poet, North Beach legend, pal’d around with Corso, Ginsberg, Kaufman, on and on). Lithic has published a dozen or so titles thus far and has another 5-6 titles in the works right now. At the bookstore, we will also be acquiring a letterpress. Lithic will be hosting readings, workshops, lectures and panels, too.