DANVILLE, Va. — A new and used bookshop will soon make its home in Danville’s River District, thanks to grant assistance from the River District Association’s Dream Launch program.
Catherine Carter, owner of The Dog-Eared Page, completed the Dream Launch business bootcamp and pitch competition, where she received $25,000 to reach her goal of opening a bookstore downtown.
Carter’s idea of a bookstore came from a makeshift book club her coworkers made at Riverside Health and Rehab. During the pandemic, they enjoyed reading, suggesting and discussing books with one another and thought it would be nice to have a place to meet for their book club. They thought it would be even nicer to have a bookstore in the city, since there is currently no dedicated store.
“I started thinking that it would be cool if we even had a bookstore in town,” Carter said. “...My parents are big readers, and they took me to bookstores growing up. I want that experience for my own son as well as my friends who love to read. You can’t always drive 45 minutes to Greensboro to go to a book shop. It would be nice if we had it within our own community.”
So Carter took the initiative and presented the idea to Kelvin Perry, project manager at Danville’s Office of Economic Development. He referred her to the Dream Launch program, which gave her business background she needed.
In her planning, Carter settled on the Dog Eared Page, because that’s what she does to her pages when she comes to a stopping point, even though it is sometimes frowned upon. She also likes the idea of her bookstore being a stopping place for people, so they can come in and relax.
Carter is looking to build her business “with purpose,” as she wants to bring the community together. She already has ideas for events such as weekly story time and open mic nights, as well as plans for hosting book clubs, contests and more.
“I hope to be able to be a place for parents to bring their kids to instill that love of reading and conversation and literacy at a young age,” Carter said. “I’m hoping to encourage people to seek the advantages that come from a good book.”
Currently, Carter’s bookstore has no set location, but she is looking at a fall opening date for her new venture.
For now, Carter is excited for the project to continue, as she has already received “great feedback” from the community. While she is learning as she goes, she said it has been fun stepping into a new role to create a bookstore for the city.
“Ultimately, I’m thankful,” Carter said. “People are really excited about it, and it makes me even more excited. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to do this. The one thing the pandemic has taught me is that life is short and that I don’t want to get to the end of things and wish I had done things differently.”