Sumter's Elephant Ear officially opens bookstore Thursday

Local authors will be at specialized store debut

BY IVY MOORE
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 2/5/19

Ten years ago, when the Elephant Ear first opened on Bultman Drive as a cooperative by several local artists, it was simply a gallery where art was displayed and sold.

Over the years, the shop added more and more features and continued to grow. …

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Sumter's Elephant Ear officially opens bookstore Thursday

Local authors will be at specialized store debut

Posted

Ten years ago, when the Elephant Ear first opened on Bultman Drive as a cooperative by several local artists, it was simply a gallery where art was displayed and sold.

Over the years, the shop added more and more features and continued to grow. On Thursday, the latest addition, the Elephant Ear Bookstore, will make its debut inside the shop.

Betty Reese, a charter member of the cooperative, said the bookstore has actually been open for a few weeks and that "people are donating used books by the bagful." Prices for used books are $2 for hardbacks, $1 for large paperbacks and 50 cents for regular paperbacks. The real focus of the store, however, is on books by local authors.

Reese said "Sumter author Sandy Richardson, who is not a part of Elephant Ear, started the idea. 'Local authors' means writers from around South Carolina," many of whom have had readings and/or book signings at the shop. About 50 are represented on the shelves dedicated to local, published writers, including Richardson.

"When we first opened," Reese said, "we celebrated our first anniversary with a signing by a Georgia author. It went so well, the public started asking for local books. The biggest success we've had has been 'Wild, Wonderful and Wacky South Cackalacky,' an anthology that Susan (Doherty) Osteen and Sandy Richardson (compiled and) edited."

Several of the authors whose books are on sale are expected to be at the debut celebration and will be available to sign copies for readers. Books for both children and adults will be on sale. The bookstore is furnished with two recliners, and coffee and tea are available for shoppers. Many of Elephant Ear's 24 cooperative members will also be present.

"The center of the bookstore can be used for a classroom or for book clubs to meet for a small fee," Reese said. She has taken writing classes herself and is currently working on a murder mystery.

During Thursday's official opening party, a variety of teas and cookies made by Lauria Nelson will be served to visitors.

"We'll also have several door prizes," Reese said.