A New Chapter
Grapevine cracks open its first and only indie bookstore
Grapevine is finally getting an independent bookstore, and it's women-owned, to boot. Talking Animals Books, located at 103 W. Worth St. in Grapevine, is throwing open its doors to the public on February 2.
Founded by Katy Lemieux and co-owned with Valerie Walizadeh, the shop will also double as an arts venue, with the popular Shakespeare in the Bar becoming its resident theater company.
Customers can expect a wide selection of new and used books, including adult and children’s literature, modern fiction, true crime, romance, cookbooks, foreign-language titles, art books, plays, poetry, and YA, as well as the regular spotlighting of local authors.
The store will also feature author events and weekly children’s story time, as well as open mic events, game nights, and many other reasons to gather.
“Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton, and Arlington all have fantastic indie bookstores, but this portion of North Texas — Grapevine, in particular — has never seen one, despite our historic Main Street and being known as the Christmas Capital of Texas," says Lemieux. "We wanted to incorporate a small indie bookstore into our town’s charming and unique economic landscape, which was already welcoming to small businesses."
Lemieux, a Fort Worth native, is an arts journalist and writer who was inspired by the pandemic and turning 40 to turn her focus to her first love: books and reading. She and her husband, actor and monologist Justin Lemieux, have been active in the Dallas-Fort Worth theater community for the last decade, with Justin appearing in plays, Katy writing about them, and the pair producing three original solo plays performed by Justin.
California native Valerie Walizadeh’s background in retail began right out of high school, and she spent most of her career managing and launching new stores with Blockbuster Video and Starbucks. After having her first child in 2007, Walizadeh earned a BA in early childhood education while pregnant with her second. She and her husband, Al, are avid readers and love to track down little bookstores whenever possible, always daydreaming about opening one of their own.
Lemieux and Walizadeh are both active in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, where their children span elementary through high school. A close mutual friend introduced them, and after a viral Kickstarter campaign, Talking Animals raised $54,100 in less than a month, exceeding the goal of $50,000.
After testing out a handful of successful holiday pop-up shops, Talking Animals is now ready for shoppers.
Talking Animals Books will feature design and art curated by local artists and event collaborations with House of Shine, among other local and small businesses. The shop also features unique gifts, T-shirts and socks, and a sitting room for reading or work. Upstairs is a kids' play area and sitting space.
Talking Animals resides inside a 122-year-old building that was once a bank robbed by the Bonnie and Clyde gang — though the titular pair was not involved that particular day, "as they had friends with money in the bank and were ironically concerned about bad blood between friends," reads a release.
Talking Animals will pay homage to the bank’s history with a micro-gallery of historical photos and narratives commemorating the town's exciting history and the bookstore’s location. The building is owned by Bermuda Gold & Silver, a family-owned store that has been in business for 40 years. Owner Debi Meeks has uncovered and restored artifacts relating to the store's history in its original form and details about the robbery and hostages that were held inside the bank vault.
And the name? It comes from C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, where the Talking Animals are a sub-category of Narnia’s inhabitants, the sentient animals who can speak to humans.
The February 2 ribbon cutting will begin at 5:30 pm, with a reception immediately following.
Parking is available behind the building on the south side of Worth Street and all surrounding street parking, including Main. Parking after 5 pm is not permitted on the north side of Worth (in the Dino’s parking lot).