Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Yellow Bike Bookstore

 I spent spring break visiting my sister in Grenada,  Mississippi. Grenada is about halfway from Jackson to Memphis, Tennessee. It’s a small town surrounded by beautiful countryside and a great place for hunting and fishing. If you need the stimulus of a big city, Grenada is not the place for you but if you like peace and quiet, long walks through woods, stumbling across old redoubts from the Civil War or just sitting in a swing outside as the sun sets, then you would enjoy Grenada.

This visit my sister took me to a gem she had discovered. For Shawna and me, “gems” are invariably bookstores. Before, we had always traveled to Oxford to get to a bookstore but since my last visit, Grenada has acquired a bookstore of its very own.

And a charming, cozy bookstore it is! It’s called The Yellow Bike and the owner, Debbie, graciously took time to give me an interview.

First question: How did you arrive at the name Yellow Bike?
Debbie: The previous owner had simply named the place, “Books.” A number of things needed changing when I bought the store and the first thing was going to be that name. I randomly played with other names like “The Red Door.” I asked my kids for ideas. What could we do to make this store personal, to make it ours? They started reminiscing about a yellow bike they played with whenever they visited their granny. My kids are grown, so that was years ago. Well, I went to granny’s house and after some searching I found the bike out back covered in Kudzu. I brought it back, refurbished it and stuck it out in front of the store on the sidewalk. And that’s how I came up with the name.

Are you a native of Grenada?
Debbie: I was born in Columbus but moved here when I was five years old. I got married when I was eighteen and my husband and I moved to the Delta where we lived and raised our kids for the next twenty-five years. While I was there I taught pre-school and eventually ran two learning schools for infants and preschoolers. I oversaw around eighty-five kids. We finally moved back here and, after my husband passed away, I worked at an assisted living center.

Why did you decide to run a bookstore?

Debbie: Job burn out. I was on call 24/7 at the assisted living center. One day a friend of mine called me and told me of a bookstore that was fixin’ to close. I’ve always loved books so I thought a book and coffee shop would be a good mix.

Here in Grenada, other than the lake, there’s nowhere to go. No bookstore, no place to just sit and hang out with friends. The closest bookstores and coffee shops are in Oxford or Jackson. I offer a local place for people to come, read, and drink coffee. I even have Wifi.

Let me interject here and say for the record that Debbie makes the best latte I’ve ever had in my life. I asked her how she made it.

Debbie: I bought a Jura Espresso machine but the coffee is my own recipe. I did a lot of research and spent weeks experimenting and finding the combination and grind of beans to get exactly the right consistency. I didn’t sleep for weeks as I drank cup after cup of coffee until I got what I wanted.

                                          This is Debbie's "baby".  Maybe she should have named her store
                                           The Little White Dog.

What is the ultimate goal with your bookstore?
Debbie: Of course all businesses are to make money but I’m not here to get rich. I won’t sell books that conflict with my own conscience. When I acquired the bookstore there were books in here I would call evil. A group came in and wanted to buy a “Satan Bible”. They’ll have to go somewhere else for that. There’s a Christian bookstore across the street. The owner wants me to buy her out, so that’s a future possibility.

Also, too many kids hate to read. I want to change that. I want to provide books that will get kids reading.
Debbie and Stacey

I wish Debbie every success in her endeavor and if you’re ever in Grenada, Mississippi be sure to stop by The Yellow Bike to browse and drink some delicious coffee.


  1. Being from Grenada, loving books and having a mom that thinks this bookstore is the best....I must "pin" this to my board. Great "interview"

  2. What a wonderful place. Looks like a great hangout.

  3. Man of la Book: Every town needs a charming little bookstore to browse and drink coffee.

  4. That's a quaint little bookstore. God, I miss bookstores.


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.