ST. PETE BEACH — A new place to buy books is coming to St. Pete Beach.
Read the Waves Bookstore’s owner said Feb. 22 she's hoping to open a bookstore in the fall, making it the only independent bookstore on St. Pete Beach. The bookstore will be located at 425 Corey Ave. and will also sell puzzles, games, gifts, cards and stationery.
Owner April Elliott, a former criminal defense attorney, said she wanted to open a bookstore after noticing there wasn’t anything near the beach, where there’s a market of residents, retirees and tourists.
“You can walk by any beach or any pool and there’s tons of people reading books, actual physical books, not e-readers,” Elliott said. “So it was just strange to me that there wasn’t an outlet or a provider for that ... the closest one at that time was the Barnes & Noble at Tyrone mall.”
Read the Waves could open by October, Elliott said, but the launch is dependent on construction.
Elliott and David Rybarczyk bought the property for $954,500 in August, according to county records. The building has three commercial spaces on the first floor and an apartment on the second, which Elliott said she’ll rent out. She plans to demolish the walls between the first-floor spaces and make it one open space that’s nearly 2,000 square feet for the bookstore. She said she got lucky after her realtor found the building and pitched the owner to sell to them.
“She sent me a picture of this building. It literally brought me to tears just because it’s so cute,” Elliott said. “It just looks like a bookstore to me.”
Elliott said she hopes to make Read the Waves a community gathering space for social discourse and literature appreciation through author book signings, book clubs, trivia nights and more. She’s also planning to have a monthly subscription service for grandparents to send books to their grandchildren across the country. There could also be a mocktail bar.
But before it opens, Elliot said, Read the Waves will participate in local farmers markets beginning in the spring to engage with the community and learn their needs as she works on building the shop.
“We’re trying to be innovative and offer things that you don’t typically see in a bookstore and that certainly aren’t currently offered on the island,” Elliot said.