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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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Independent bookstore to open downtown

Emma Tanner

A new independent bookstore, Court Street Books, is set to open in late November. It will be located at 610 S. Court St.

Owners Karmen Somers and Dr. Charles Wayne Melvin have been avid bibliophiles their entire lives. Somers has lived in the Shoals for over 30 years, originally moving to the area to attend UNA. She fell in love with the area and never went back to her hometown of Madison. In 2003, she and her husband Dr. Melvin opened Tennessee Valley Pediatrics, where he still practices medicine. 

“[Melvin and I] probably have over a thousand books in our house,” Somers said. “He’s always sold really expensive books — first editions and stuff like that. When we bought this suite for Tennessee Valley Pediatrics, we had an extra building.”

Somers and Melvin knew that the location was perfect for a bookstore. They had dreamed of opening one for some time and finally had the opportunity to do so. 

To Somers, the location is a crossroads between Lauderdale and Colbert counties. At the intersection of Veterans Drive and Court St., the bookstore is just across the river from Sheffield. She hopes that those interested will easily be able to visit when they desire.

“We want a place of community,” Somers said. “We want a place where everyone is welcome. We plan to have author signings, too.”

The bookstore will have an events center, a children’s corner and, of course, a coffee shop. The coffee will be provided by local coffee roasters, as Somers values shopping local.

“We’ve always promoted reading,” Somers said. “Every kid under six gets a new book at their check up. We love the written word. Words are powerful.”

Somers and Melvin hope to share their love of reading with those of all ages, as they have for years. Through the bookstore, they want to be able to reach a larger demographic of people — college students, adults and children are all welcome.

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About the Contributor
Emma Tanner, Editor-in-Chief
Emma is Editor-in-Chief of the Flor-Ala. She is a senior from Killen, Ala. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism and digital media. She was previously Managing Editor for the spring 2023 semester. She also served as News Editor from Jan. 2022 to Dec. 2022. She was previously a volunteer writer. Her favorite topics to cover are profiles and local news. Tanner has written since her childhood and grew a passion for journalism during high school. Aside from working on the Flor-Ala, she was also a research assistant for a psychological study at UNA and served as CASE ambassador president for the Fall 2022 semester.

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