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If your heart goes pitter-patter at the very thought of visiting a cozy local book store that also just happens to serve hot beverages, libations, and freshly made sweet and savory treats, then pin the location of Two Friends Bookstore + Café in Bentonville on your smartphone. Next, visit their website so that your first in-store visit will feel like home sweet home.
Monica Diodati and Rachel Stuckey-Slaton were two friends who bonded over book club night.
One evening at book club, the two were bemoaning the fact that there wasn’t an independent bookstore in Bentonville. They missed it. Terribly, actually, since both moved to Bentonville from bigger cities (Monica from Dallas and Rachel from New York) where independent bookstores were easily accessible.
Together they declared, “Why not have a pop-up bookstore?”
And so, they did.
Monica and Rachel started very low-risk/low-stakes with the pop-up bookstore. They asked friends for books they didn’t want anymore and gathered the ones they had finished reading. They started as a pop-up in May 2018 in Onyx and then moved to Airship Coffee in 2019, tucked in the corner of their flagship site.
“I sold all the books I used,” Monica shared. “I never had a big plan to open a shop, it just incrementally and organically came to this.”
Obviously, coffee was a key element in the bookstore pop-up. So when the two moved to their permanent location in February 2020, coffee, food, and drinks were definitely on the menu.
Signing a lease one month before the world stopped had Monica and Rachel questioning the timing and what to do next. “We had to make a call on whether to move forward with all the precautions in place. The community really showed up. It also forced us to get an online shop up early,” says Monica.
At the end of the day, Monica and Rachel are grateful for their part in supporting local books stores in communities. “People don’t understand that they can use their local bookstore like they do Amazon. If you have holiday orders, special events, or book club needs, our website can be used like you would use Amazon, with books either shipped directly to you or you can come in the store.”
And once in the store, grab a cup and a bite, and happily start reading the first chapter.
Airship Coffee is brewed and both pastries and breads are delivered from Onyx Bakery. The two friends create savory sandwiches with local ingredients whenever they can, such as cheese sourced from Sweet Freedom Cheese in Bentonville.
As I was sitting at the counter one day enjoying my coffee and white bean with arugula sandwich, a customer came up and ordered a seasonal beet sandwich. “That sounds amazing,” I declared and asked what was in it. As she ticked off the ingredients, she ended the list by including “and happiness.” Sounds about right.
You know that feeling of cozying up next to a fireplace with a good book? Or, when you pour yourself a glass of wine late in the evening, feet tucked under, and it’s nothing but just you and the characters on the pages of a novel? THAT’S the feeling you get when you visit Two Friends Bookstore + Café in Bentonville.
And, for those times when you want to expand your horizons and be with others, the Two Friends Book Club meets the first Tuesday each month at 6 p.m. and they also have Speakers Series Events scattered throughout each month. Check out their website and Instagram for more details.
Two Friends Bookstore + Cafe
234 SW 7th Street, #106
Corner of SW 7th and B Street
Bentonville, AR 72712
Tuesday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
More women-owned businesses in Arkansas can be found here.
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