County Road 12: Capitol Book Closing

Published: Nov. 13, 2015 at 5:57 PM CST|Updated: May. 14, 2016 at 1:51 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - How do you know how to pick out that perfect book?

Often it's a good idea to get help from the experts, the pros, the people who do it for a living. Some of the best folks around work at Capitol Book in Montgomery. But if you're looking for their advice, time is running out.

"The hardest thing I ever did was hit the send button that day," said Capitol Book co-owner Thomas Upchurch.

The message that went out to all of its customers read simply, 'We're closing for good after the holidays.'

To understand why this place is so special, you have to know about its history.

"Capitol Book was founded by Victor Lavine in 1950. He was known as the "Book Man" in the Montgomery area."

When Thomas and his wife Cheryl moved back to Montgomery in 1976, she was looking for work.

"There was an ad in the paper for a book store assistant. It paid $95 per week."

Cheryl got the job and two years later, she and her husband took over the business.

"I met my wife in a book store. She was working hard in the store and I was goofing off," Thomas said.

They've shared their passion for books and their lives together ever since. There are some great memories here.

"Just the variety of people you meet in the book store. In the old store downtown we would have former governors, supreme court justices, even a guy who would sell his blood at the blood bank to get money to buy books."

They've thought about shutting it down for the last year. It was not an easy decision.
"We've had people come in and cry about this. It's just difficult to convince the younger readers that the telephone is not the best way to read a book. But they are so used to using that screen for everything. It just kills my soul to know that people 20 years from now won't even have books on the shelves."

The competition, and the changing way people read books proved to be too much at a time when they were getting ready to slow down.

"We aren't going out on our knees. We aren't bankrupt. We've never had a year where we've lost money. We're just tired."

It's easy to see why. They've worked six or seven days a week for more than 35 straight years.
"Its been hard, but its been fun."
Now maybe the real fun begins. They will stay open through the holidays and then have a big sale in early January. After that?
"I don't know where we're going, but the day after this place closes, we're just going to get in the car and go somewhere."
A well deserved break for a couple that's been helping folks turn the pages for almost four decades.
You can visit the bookstore's website here, or its Facebook page here
Copyright 2015 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.