Dog Ear books first opened its doors in November of 2016. Since then the downtown bookstore has grown exponentially. Walking into the brightly lit store at the the corner of Main and Commerce in Russellville, you’ll find a large selection of new books in all genres along with an ample used book section. You’ll also find tons of book-related gift items from literary-themed candles to beautiful handmade cards with pithy and hilarious quotes to mugs like Last Lines of Literature and a crossword mug you can actually write on (and download new clues each week!). And if you need new socks, you can pick up Where the Wild Things Are or A Clockwork Orange themed pairs.
Co-owner Emily Young says the book store was born out of a community need. “After both Hastings and Vintage Books closed we knew that there was going to be a book-shaped hole in Russellville’s heart,” says Emily. “We couldn’t just stand by and let that happen. Plus, we wanted to create a place that could serve as a sort of hub for the community.”
Dog Ear has been more than just a book store — hosting community events, open-mic nights, author readings, political panels and even birthday parties. Regular book buying customers can take part in the book buying club where $50 in book purchases gets a $5 coupon.
It’s a family-run business from bottom to top. “My mom (Pat Young) is the backbone of this business,” says Emily. “You may hear her say I’m the brains and heart, but none of that would matter without a backbone to keep us stable.” Emily says Pat is always coming up with amazing events for the kids and often MCs open-mic nights. She makes sure local authors feel welcome and is always ready to help a customer find the perfect book. “My dad, Garry, is jokingly called ‘Mr. Moneybags’ because he handles the money side, making sure we have what we need to provide everything we possibly can for the community,” says Emily. Since opening two years ago, the staff has grown to include members of the community as well as the occasional shift from nieces or nephews.
Emily is known for her vocal support of local businesses, and Dog Ear is an extension of that. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of any community,” she explains. “They are what makes the town what it is. You know when you make a purchase from a small business that your money will be cycled back through the community over and over again. Buying a book puts money in our pockets to purchase T-shirts from a local printing company, which then helps them pay their bills, and on and on. You’d be supporting your friends and neighbors directly, which is always a nice feeling.”
“I believe downtowns set the tone of a place,” says Emily.” If you have a thriving downtown, you will more than likely have a healthy town.”
Dog Ear Books is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. Visit Dog Ear’s Facebook page (facebook/ilovedogear) to stay up to date with upcoming events like story times, author readings, art nights and more. You can also visit them online at www.ilovedogear.com.