South Tampa Independent Bookstore Attracts New Owner

As of Monday, April 1st, South Tampa's Inkwood Books has changed hands.

Opened 21 years ago, the locally owned bookstore has been satisfying the needs of Tampa Bay area book lovers long before the arrival of chain stores, online competitors and the e-book craze -- and now founders Carla Jimenez and Leslie Reiner are saying goodbye, welcoming long-time customer Stefani Beddingfield.

Situated inside of a small renovated bungalow at 216 S. Armenia Ave., Inkwood Books will keep the same name and location, continuing business as Tampa's only locally owned independent bookstore exclusively selling new books. Beddingfield says she will continue many of Inkwood's regular services and events, but has plans to spice things up with some new to-be-announced ideas.

“I am grateful to Leslie and Carla for this next chapter in my life and look forward to promoting Inkwood's passion for books, reading and community,” says Beddingfield, who has already made her local mark by starting the Freedom Playground Foundation.

In 2012, Jimenez and Reiner began quietly looking for the right person to sell the store to and were delighted to find an enthusiastic, long-time customer like Beddingfield to continue Inkwood's success; in addition to being an avid Inkwood's customer and event attendee, Beddingfield attended American Bookseller's Association Prospective Booksellers School.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to pass forward a vibrant, healthy bookstore to Stefani,” Jimenez says. “We are confident the new Inkwood will take care of our devoted patrons, as well as the new customers attracted by the fresh,  admittedly younger steward.”

Reiner plans to remain engaged in the local literary scene and will continue working part-time at Inkwood, along with booksellers Amanda, Lindsay and Christian.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Stefani Beddingfield, Inkwood Books; Carla Jimenez & Leslie Reiner
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