I am a freelance author, writer, critic, artist, and entrepreneur living in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country.
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My dream building, for CommuniTea Books, is an old home, which has sense been used for various boutiques, and even restaurants. It’s vacant, at the moment. 438 S. Main Street Boerne, Texas 78006. This amazing building is right on Main Street, along the Hill Country Mile, and sits right next door to the new, kind of, counter culture dig in town, The Cibolo Creek Brewing Co., it’s a micro-brewery, and a farm-to-table restaurant, the owners, and the employees are all real down to earth, well-adjusted human beings—having them as neighbors would be phenomenal. Back to 438 S. Main Street, the current owners are looking to sell it, they had been renting it until recently, and now it sits empty, and waiting for a buyer.
Here’s the kicker: they want $999,000 for it!
I’m sure I can get them down to $600,000 but that’s still a little pricey. My current financial projections suggest I can have that paid off in 15 years, which, considering, really isn’t that bad. Still, the initial investment is a lot.
The patio space—front, back, and side—consists of almost half of the square footage of the building itself, while the parking, out back, is the same square footage. It’s the only building on Main Street with as much parking. And there’s a lot we can do with that. The plan is to build a stage that will sit on the rear end of the side patio and face the back parking lot, and there we can hold larger music, and author events—or some seating, and standing room only author events, inside.
The space has wooden floors, and a fireplace in the corner of one of the rooms—I say, “One of the rooms,” but really it’s an open floor plan separated, in part, by columns—A large room to the right, rear, and up a small staircase would be ideal for the children’s section, because, in Boerne, with the growing number of families, and already large percentage of children between 3 and 18 supporting a large, distinct children’s department is essential. And it’s the only enclosed room, besides the office, at the left, rear.
The office used to be a kitchen, when the space was a restaurant, and now, other than the vent, and a three piece sink, it’s an open room. In which I’ll build a false wall, and the first third will be the kitchen space for the teahouse, while the rear two thirds will be the office/storage, and trade space (where we go through customer books to determine whether we’ll take them, and whether we can offer store credit or cash).
The hallway in the center of the building is ideal for the quote/unquote “Nonfiction” section, well, at least, everything except the cooking and art/photography books. Cooking, art, and photography will be in the first room to the left as you enter the front door, along the side wall, near where the ‘bar’ will be, where the barista’s work.
Directly behind the bar is a very small room, it’s almost a foyer, though in the middle of the building; it is perfect for displaying our bulk teas, and being easily visible for our patrons.
The rest of the space, and the few interior standing bookshelves, which will stand in the ‘second’ room—the middle ‘room.’—on the right, as you enter through the front door, will be the ‘Fiction’ section. I’ll build bookshelves into the interior walls, which will allow for more space for people browsing, and, in the first two rooms—to the left and right of the entrance—tables, for people to sit, enjoy their tea, pastries, and read or converse.
The middle window on the far right side of the building is cracked, which is wonderful, because I had planned on putting French doors in that space (the same space with the standing interior bookshelves), replacing the windows. The side patio is immediately outside.
The single occupancy bathroom is on the right, in the rear, between the kids department and the Fiction section.
We’ll have to paint the exterior. And I’m thinking a medium to dark shade of blue, not sky blue, no, darker than sky blue. The window, and door panels will be a cream color.
The only thing about this building that I don’t like is the color of the patio. Which, of course, is an easy fix. For some reason one of the renters, or even the owner felt like it would be a decent idea to stain the cement patio a salmon color, with more pinkish overtones. It’s bizarre, and unfortunate. I had considered various colors for re-staining, but why not go for the typical ‘cement’ color, just kind of a dirty cream, I suppose.
In short it’s almost as if the building was built to house a bookstore and teahouse. Our logo will change for the space, and that’s fine, because I already have one designed. Part of the reason that I want to be on Main Street, other than the fact that it’s Main Street, and you know, being anywhere else in town all but eliminates the tourist market, which would be an incredibly stupid thing to do, is because it’s important for me to create a collaborative, a collective, I guess, of some kind with other businesses along Main Street: The Cibolo Creek Brewing Co., Bear Moon Bakery, The Shops at 153 Main, The Ye Kendall Inn, The Hungry Horse, Soda Pops Patio Grille and Bar, SWS, The Boerne Grill, The Dienger Trading Co., and various other boutiques and restaurants. Also 438 S. Main Street is about fifty yards from the river that flows through the center of Boerne.
Granted, for those of you scratching your heads, yes, we were on Main Street at one point before. CommuniTea Books used to be Wardrobe Books, and that facsimile of my bookstore was on the second floor of a multi-vendor building further north on Main Street, in Boerne. And it was a good spot, I was grateful to be there, however it did not suit the bookstore, nor the customer base for CommuniTea Books.