Pearl’s Books joined Dickson Street Bookshop as one of two independent bookstores operating in Fayetteville after it officially opened its doors Oct. 2, following a soft opening that began Sept. 23.
The bookstore, located at 28 E. Center St., is owned by Daniel and Leah Jordan, who have dreamt of opening the store for years, Leah said. Prior to opening Pearl’s, Daniel and Leah were academic advisors for the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the UofA for a combined 12 years.
“It had definitely been something in the back of my mind for a long time, and Daniel’s as well,” Leah said. “We just thought it would be something we would do when we retire.”
Before opening Pearl’s, the Jordans reached out to the owners of other independent bookstores, including Two Friends Books in Bentonville, Skylark Bookshop in Columbia, Missouri, and Magic City Books in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to find out how they began the process of opening their stores. They got helpful information and resources from the American Booksellers Association, a nonprofit trade organization for independent bookstores, Leah said.
In the early stages of planning, the Jordans gathered information through Facebook groups and community outreach, Leah said. Once they had the resources and information necessary, the Jordans began looking for a space to open their store. The Jordans lucked into their current space in downtown Fayetteville and love the location, Leah said.
“I happened to have been driving one day and saw that there was a lease sign out front,” Leah said. “We had looked at a couple of other places but this just really worked out well.”
The process of opening their first business had its challenges for the Jordans, Leah said. The steps involved in becoming business owners were daunting.
“The financial aspects and figuring out how to pay for something like this is a little scary and challenging,” Leah said.
Between operating the bookstore and having two small children, the Jordans have had to find a way to balance their time, Leah said. She and Daniel feel lucky to have family members in Northwest Arkansas who can help care for their children while they tend to the store.
“It’s a whole new learning curve so every bit of it is equally challenging and exciting, and it’s been really cool,” Leah said.
In addition to offering a variety of new books, Pearl’s has a selection of snacks and drip coffee from Arsaga’s Coffee Roasters at the front counter. The Jordans wanted to offer food and drink so they could create a space where people in the community could feel welcome to come and meet together, Leah said.
Hallee Israel, one of Pearl’s employees, said she enjoys working at the bookstore because she loves working with the Jordans and for a small business.
“It’s a really great environment,” Israel said. “I used to work for big corporations, so it’s really nice working for a small business and seeing the community support and how kind people are. And I get to work for really great people.”
Ashley Reaves, a customer, said she loved how warm and inviting the store felt when she first visited on Friday.
“The store itself was really cute and cozy, and the owners were so welcoming and eager to interact with the customers,” Reaves said. “They also have a huge selection of books, which I appreciate, and I cannot wait to go back.”
Leah loves the challenges offered by running the bookstore, as well as meeting those who come into the store and helping them find books, she said. She often finds herself smiling throughout the day like never before.
“We believe that books are so important and meaningful, they really can change your life,” Leah said. “We really hope that this can be a respectful and welcoming place for people to gather.”