Charity Harrington and Amy Miller, former English teachers at the Odyssey Institute in Buckeye, were looking to start a new chapter in their lives.
So they opened the Immortal Trees bookstore in Avondale.
“We just let go of our teaching contracts last spring and we’ve finished the year,” Harrington said. “Before that, we used to joke about buying an old school bus and turning it into a mobile library or mobile bookstore because we don’t have independent bookstores here.
“But then I texted Amy one Sunday morning and was like, ‘Hey, you know how we pushed this dumb idea to do a bookstore? Do you want to open a real physical bookstore? And the text came back with “Yes”.
Harrington and Miller noticed that it was hard to find good used books anywhere in the valley outside of libraries. So they wanted to create a place where anyone could buy used books of various genres and authors.
“We have a natural love for all things books, and there’s just a need for a bookstore in the area,” Miller said. “The community we live in, Buckeye, and the whole surrounding area, there’s just nothing there.”
“We have the public library. But a book to keep that belongs to you, that you might own, there’s nothing here,” Harrington added.
On top of that, when looking for used books, there is no consideration for children’s authors and genres. Most used books found at Goodwill or other stores are for adults.
“There is nothing for children, who were a big inspiration in the idea of the bookstore. A safe, fun place that encourages learning and curiosity for children,” Miller said.
Since they had many years of students with incredible talents, the two former teachers hope to show some of that.
“We have so many art students who are incredibly talented in high school, and it would be wonderful for them to be able to create things that they’re super proud of,” Harrington said.
“We’re hoping to put them on display so people can buy them, which brings in some money for that artist who has to pay for their art supplies or maybe help pay for a course when they go to college.”
In addition to the art they hope to exhibit and eventually sell, they are looking for other items to sell with their books that will average between $3 and $5.
“We have a few friends of ours who do things by hand. A teacher friend of ours makes these cool lotion bars, which she puts in boxes,” Harrington said.
“My mother is in the Las Noches Woman’s Club, which is a club in the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, and they give us things to sell here like coat bags and jewelry that we donate the money we make to their club, and they’re going to spend that on education. My dad also made tons of jewelry that we’ll be selling. But we’d like to consign for people who make great products and support one of our alumni students who create.
The two will also sell coffee and tea to customers who just want to come in and browse for a new read. Eventually, Immortal Tree Bookshop will offer courses and events.
“Some of our former students were artists, and we discussed with them the possibility of coming to do a computer comic or a graphic novel class for young teenagers. We’ll also be doing scrapbooking classes and an ornament kit,” Harrington said.
“We are open to any small-scale community activity. We think of groups of 10 to 15 for each of our courses or events. We want to invite poets and authors to come read and do book signings and maybe even creative writing workshops. We have so many ideas to come.
Immortal Tree Bookshop will hold an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 13. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
For more information, visit immortaltrees.com or @immortaltreesbookshop on Instagram.