In June, Amazing Books will open a second store in Squirrel Hill, a neighborhood that has been starving for a book store since Barnes and Noble closed in 2009.
Owner Eric Ackland said he had been looking for a location in Squirrel Hill for the past year, in part because he knew the neighborhood would respond well and in part because he has twice as many books in the back of his Downtown store as he does on the floor. That store is at 929 Liberty Ave.
The new store will be at 2030 Murray Ave. beside Pinsker’s Judaica Store. It’s approximately the same size as the Downtown store, which is 1,000 square feet, but will have a basement for classes in writing, from fiction and screenplays to literary non-fiction. Amazing will contract with people who are interested in teaching them.
“I think we can sell more books in Squirrel Hill,” Eric said. “We will be near a Crazy Mocha and the new [Sunday] farmers market,” which also starts in June. “I think there will be a synergistic fit.
Tentatively, the hours will be from 9 to 9 except Friday, when the store will close at sundown for the Sabbath and remain closed on Saturday.
The store sells used books but will be registering with distributors to sell some new books and plans to sell the books of local authors “and mid-list authors we believe in.”
Amazing Squirrel Hill will also sell greeting and other cards made by local artists. It currently sells local artist Kathryn Carr’s beautiful handmade cards.
Amazing opened last April when the original owners of Awesome Books sold Eric their inventory. Awesome’s first store, which has since closed, was in Garfield.
“They were awesome and we’re amazing,” Eric said, explaining that the name didn’t transfer so he wanted to come up with something similar, “and amazing is a superlative that begins with A.” It also begins with the first four letters of Amazon, with which Amazing has had a sales relationship with books it can sell for more than $10.
Eric moved from New York City to Pittsburgh two years ago, he said, “because my wife, Tzipora Ackland, is from Pittsburgh” and counted on him moving back with her. “The best thing I ever did.”
He said he would like to keep the first store Downtown. It is on a month-to-month lease now. “Our goal is to be a Pittsburgh institution.”
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