Sewanee Village Implementation Plan to proceed with bookstore

By Anna Mann

In an interview with The Purple, special assistant to the Vice-Chancellor Frank Gladu announced that the Sewanee bookstore will ideally reach completion by the end of 2019. This milemarker will then serve as a “jumping off point” for the rest of the Sewanee Village Implementation plan, according to Gladu. 

Though the building’s frame is currently being erected, the question of when the downtown location of the bookstore will become fully operational is a different story. As the end of Advent 2019 and the beginning of Easter 2020 will both be times of heavy activity for the store, Gladu admitted that he wasn’t entirely certainly of the move-in date. It is, nevertheless, expected by the end of the academic school year. 

The homey two-floor design will allow for more readings and community-held events than the previous bookstore did. Gladu said that this was due to their desire to recreate the atmosphere of a small independent bookstore in order to foster a community-friendly environment. 

“The bookstore is a pivotal link between the campus and the village together,” stated Gladu. “There’s this short buffer zone between Hunter and Otey…it’s a very short distance but there is that residential separation. The bookstore will hopefully fix that.”

Gladu says that the University hopes to use this momentum to finish the additional four high priority projects: the narrowing of highway 41-A that runs between the Sewanee Market and Shenanigan’s, the creation of the Village Green as an event space, and a joint building with apartments on top and a specialty food market on the bottom. Though the main focus will be housing, the next big product will be the movement of the Sewanee market to the specialty food market. 

About the completion date for the projects, Gladu said, “These five projects are making progress, sometimes incrementally, but I am confident that those five projects could be substantially completed by 2022.” 

Gladu stressed that in order for the businesses to be successful, Sewanee will need to attract customers from the more densely populated areas of Nashville, Chattanooga, Huntsville, and even Atlanta. Namely, the University is thinking about increasing tourism. 

The Babson Center’s Carey Fellows will be chiefly helping with this as a fall project “to help define what it is that Sewanee has that would be attractive. Some of them are obvious but we’ll do a little bit deeper dive,” said Galdu. 

The student’s research will be complemented by the tourism majors at Middle Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Department of Community Development in the spring. These three programs will come up with a comprehensive outreach plan to highlight reasons and attractions in Sewanee.

“Things are moving,” finished Gladu. “They’re not at break-neck speed, they’re slow and deliberate, but they are moving forward. I’m encouraged that we will begin to see some results.”