Old Tampa Book Company Turns Sweet Sixteen

Break out the kisses, a beloved downtown Tampa business is turning sweet 16.

The Old Tampa Book Company at 507 N. Tampa Street celebrates 16 years of business the first weekend of October. To what do owners David and Ellen Brown owe their success?

"Commitment," says Ellen Brown. "We belong to the Tampa Independent Business Alliance and all of us are committed to the unique aspect of a city that's different than the mall. What makes being downtown unique is the absence of chain stores. The unique nature of  restaurants and small shops that are owned by individuals who have a commitment to our area. We traveled a lot to cities like Sonoma, CA and Portland, ME, and these places have a commitment to buying locally. And there's a quality to that. David and I both come from small towns and we feel like we're in a small town in downtown Tampa. We feel like we can go to other small businesses for help and it's a real community. It's nice. "

David is the driving force behind the store's inventory. He just found a book entitled The American Gazeteer written by Jebediah Morris that was published in 1798 and lists cities throughout what constituted the U.S. at that time. Tampa, referred to as 'Tampay Bay,' is included. "I get lucky sometimes," he says.

"The bookstore is a result of David's very active curiosity," says Ellen. "He's got a history of appraising books and knows what collectors want. He chooses books that are of interest to him. He looks for the unusual. The biggest issue for him is the condition and the quality. We look for hard cover books in good condition."

The celebration includes a half off sale and of course, chocolate kisses.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Sources: David and Ellen Brown, Old Tampa Book Company
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