As a lover of books and talking to writers about their work, Estes said she hoped one day Georgetown would have its own local bookstore to host events so more people could join in.
“And then one day, I just realized that we were the people we were waiting for,” Estes said. “So, I reached out to women I knew, women who knew how to get things done.”
Founded by 10 Georgetown women, Lark & Owl Booksellers is now owned and operated by a remaining three—Estes, former City Council Member Rachael Jonrowe and Misty Adair. It opened in April 2019 off the Georgetown Square.
From the onset, Lark & Owl sought to become a place where everyone was welcome and that patrons knew those operating and working in the store care about them, Jonrowe said.
The three said it was a part of their mission all along to have a curated selection of books that was reflective of the Georgetown community.
This includes having a robust section of books on social and racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death as well as offering books for those—particularly parents—looking to diversify their children’s bookshelves with characters who are different than they are.
The owners also make a conscious effort to educate themselves and their staff to have an equity eye in book and retail selections, interactions with customers and even what the business posts on social media.
“We’ve become known as a safe place and a progressive place,” Adair said. “So people who are different in some way know they can come here and they’re welcome, and they can find something that speaks to them.”
The shop, while still sure to keep trendy and popular books in stock, also continuously works to be a place of discovery, where readers can find their next favorite book they never knew they needed.
In addition to a selection of books of many genres, patrons can find gifts, each meticulously curated by Adair to match the themes of genres and even specific books. Much of the retail offered in the store also supports many local, small and/or women-owned businesses, Jonrowe said.
She added that patrons can also find a community phone where those experiencing crisis can make a free call to area support services such as Hope Alliance, The Trevor Project and the National Drug Helpline.
“We try to be available as a vehicle for the community to connect in those ways, too. However we can help support that,” Estes said.
There is also a restaurant—Nightingale Bistro—owned separately from the store that sells breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as drinks and desserts.
Prior to the pandemic, the bistro and Lark & Owl would work in conjunction to host events. The owners said they are hopeful they can bring back in-person events such as trivia night, an adult spelling bee, author readings and book signings.
Creating a space where the community can come together and feel welcome is what Estes said that makes Lark & Owl stand out.
“Amazon can’t replace community,” Estes said. “People want to walk into a place where somebody knows who they are, knows what they like to read, or at least makes the attempt to try to help anybody find something and to have it be a gathering place.”
Here are three books the owners are most looking forward to coming out before the end of the year.
- Rachael Jonrowe’s pick
- “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone” by Diana Gabaldon
- Release date: 11/23/2021
- Jane Estes’ pick
- “The Sisters Sweet” by Elizabeth Weiss
- Release date: 11/30/2021
- Misty Adair’s pick
- “When Ghosts Come Home” by Wiley Cash
- Release date: 9/21/2021
Lark & Owl Booksellers
205 Sixth St., Ste. 101, Georgetown
Hours: Wed. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Thu.-Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., closed Mon., by appointment Tue.