Talking Animals Books

Raising $50k to support start-up costs for a quirky, eccentric, and original independent bookstore in historic Grapevine, Texas.

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Talking Animals is a woman-owned independent bookstore located in Grapevine, Texas. We are seeking $300,000 in addition to our Kickstarter to support the store opening and first three (3) years of operations. Talking Animals is led by Katy Lemieux, an award-winning national arts and culture writer for Texas Monthly, the Dallas Observer, and D Magazine and as a national freelance arts reporter for the New York Times, Esquire, American Theatre. This is her first venture as a bookseller. She brings her knowledge as a decades-long small business owner with her family business which sold in 2021, as well as nearly ten years working in non-profit performing arts and events

We are a small community bookstore in a highly accessible part of historic Grapevine, Texas. A quirky, colorful, eccentric, and original destination in the community providing a curated collection of books, gifts, and events with a specific focus on children, students, and families

Talking Animals is a space for creative thinking and curious minds. We hope you'll join us on this adventure.

Our name comes from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a sub-category of Narnia’s inhabitants, the sentient animals, who are able to speak to humans.

MISSION
We are the Talking Animals. 

We champion art and literature; 

We are curious travelers who rest our heads upon dreams and float awake with the sun; 

With ears to the ground, we listen for the stories and share them so they will always live.


INTRODUCTION

The story is as old as time: an English major can't decide what to do with her life.
I have been an arts and culture writer, grant writer, event planner, and theater producer for the last decade while raising my two daughters with my college sweetheart, Justin, an actor and monologist whose work took us to Chicago for three years before starting a family and returning to DFW. We have been raising two feisty daughters in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, just up the road from Bedford, where we purchased our first home in 2008. We are deeply invested in this community, love our schools, and have formed a supportive and close-knit group of families in our neighborhood. We want to extend that community support system to the public where we can have a space for curious minds to meet.
I am a Fort Worth native and grew up playing in the warehouses of our family trucking company with my sister, watching our parents carve out their paths. Our mom showed us what it took to live that life while raising a family, and I am proud to carry on that tradition. We have built a life in the arts that honors the written words of authors, poets, and playwrights who have gone before us. Those words belong to all of us, and sharing them is sacred.

Grapevine, Texas sits at the center of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex in the heart of North Texas, a hub for international tourism, business, and the arts.  There is currently no independent bookstore in Grapevine or anywhere in the surrounding vicinity. The only nearby bookstores are Barnes and Noble in Southlake and Half-Price Books in Bedford, both corporate-owned chains.

OVERVIEW

  • Talking Animals is an Independent bookstore and arts venue located at [2350 Hall Johnson Rd #145] focused on staff-curated new and used book selections, gifts, and events. 

  • The cozy bookstore offers a book club, author events, and children’s story hour as well as live literary and theatrical events. 

  • Talking Animals hosts Shakespeare in the Bar as its resident company and will feature art curated by Dallas artist and curator Lucia Arbery Simek

  • Talking Animals is an accredited member of the American Bookseller Association as well as the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce

  • Talking Animals will offer a wide selection of new and used books including children’s literature, modern fiction, true crime, cookbooks, foreign-language titles, and art books, as well as local authors. The store will also feature monthly author events and weekly children’s story time. A gift-wrapping service will be provided and gift certificates will be sold to encourage customers to buy for the children of friends and family members.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 194,890 residents within a five-mile radius. 
  • 76,430 Total Households within five miles;
  • Avg age male: 40, female: 41
  • The average household income is $177,674 within one mile; $140,252 within three miles; and $124,661 within five miles.

INDIE BOOKSTORES ARE COMMUNITY DRIVERS

At the end of the 2009 recession there were 1,401 independent bookstores stores with 1,651 locations nationally.

Those numbers are slowly coming back up. In 2021 the ABA reported 1,701 stores with nearly 2,100 locations.

  • Bookstores are prolific event producers.

  • Create a powerful neighborhood-wide investment

  • Incrementally-built retail to anchor local economies and social communities

  • Economic resilience and power to endure, grow, and continue creating long-term prosperity 

  • Independent bookstores are investments in the community

WHY A BOOKSTORE?

  • There is no independent book store in the community we are entering. 
  • Feedback from the surveyed local population was extremely positive and explicitly want to frequent our business when launched.
  • Our location is in a high-volume area with little direct traffic, and highly convenient to significant numbers of passersby each day. 
  • The management team has a track record of success in small business ownership, as well as literary, theater, and production experience.
  • The book store business is proven and has succeeded in communities throughout the United States. North Texas is seeing a current rise in the success of independent bookstores.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

Talking Animals is currently seeking $300,000 to support the store launch and first three (3) years of operations. These funds will be raised as follows: a Broad crowdfunding through Kickstarter, Private backers and donors, local investors and grants, and finally a small business loan for any remainder.

Specifically, these funds will be used as follows:

  • Store design/build and complete renovation/conversion to make space fully ADA compliant and accessible, engineer shelving that can move to convert the space for events, restructure restrooms, and build window displays: $65,000
  • Working capital for marketing, inventory, and curation: $35,000; 
  • Rent, property taxes, maintenance, and insurance, and wages until FY25: $250,000

WHY GRAPEVINE?

We are a uniquely Texan small town with a thriving global marketplace. We are home to DFW International Airport, 4th busiest airport in the country which sees 62 million travelers annually. Just between Dallas and Fort Worth, Grapevine’s central location gives plenty of options to residents and visitors, and seven intersecting highways make the city accessible and visible. The Hall Johnson Center sits near the intersection of Hall-Johnson Road and Heritage Avenue with close access to State Highway 121.

  • A corporate convention hub with more than 6,000 hotel rooms citywide, all generating foot traffic year-round.
  • Grapevine’s corporate culture attracts national retailers and industries. Grapevine Mills Mall attracts thousands of destination shoppers daily, and national chains fill restaurant rows. Full-scale facilities such as the Great Wolf Lodge and the Gaylord Texan drive a tourism and convention industry second to none.
  • Grapevine’s established and residentially diverse upscale neighborhoods continue to thrive and cater to a family-based community. 
  • Our location sits at the heart of the Grapevine-Colleyville communities, steps away from Colleyville Heritage High School and Grapevine High School

WEBSITE

www.talkinganimalsbooks.com
 






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