FIRESTORM ANNOUNCES GRAND OPENING
Below Accessibility and community impact highlighted by bookstore staff
Firestorm Books hosted a grand opening celebration at its new location in West Asheville on Sunday, August 27th. First announced in July of 2022, the move to 1022 Haywood Road begins an exciting new chapter for the worker co-operative, which started in the basement of Downtown Asheville’s Weinhaus fifteen years ago.
A day-long celebration gave community members—including over 450 individuals who supported the bookstore’s crowdfunding campaign—an opportunity to see the new space in its final form. “We soft launched a couple weeks ago,” notes Firestorm Collective member Esmé Joy. “But we’ve continued finalizing details, so by the 27th, folks will experience our new location as it was always intended!” Although the bookshop no longer operates a cafe (and recently dropped “coffee” from its name), members will make free fruit popsicles for the occasion, and have partnered with The Smokin' Onion Food Truck for affordable vegan eats throughout the day.
What’s New at 10222
Pitched as a “forever home” for Firestorm, the former site of Dr. Dave’s Automotive was purchased in 2022 with the support of Seed Commons, a national network of non-extractive loan funds. Extensive renovations at 1022 Haywood Road expanded the site’s capacity for community activity and retail sales. An asphalt parking lot was replaced by wide sidewalks and green space, with a wooden deck that spans two thirds of the storefront. “COVID safety has been a significant part of our approach over the last few years, so we love being able to host events outdoors, or with the garage doors open,” explains Esmé. From a brand new HVAC with HEPA filters to touchless bathroom fixtures, Firestorm staff hope that health conscious design will allow high risk community members to feel comfortable joining in-person events at the co-op.
Although the bookstore will continue hosting some authors virtually, it has already begun scheduling in-person events. “We have three different areas that we’re making available for free community activities,” explains member Glenda Ro. “I’m especially pleased to finally have a private meeting room for small groups.”
Visitors will also find an expanded selection of what Firestorm is best known for—books! Although the co-op sells exclusively new titles, more floor space is now dedicated to discount inventory, including books marked down 25% to 50%. “Discount books are an obvious choice for Firestorm because customers love getting a deal and we love making books accessible,” points out Firestorm buyer Beck Nippes.
Firestorm Books is a fifteen year old collectively-owned bookstore and community event space at 1022 Haywood Road. The co-op, known for its social movement-oriented book selection, hosts in-person and virtual reading groups, author events, and more with free registration through its website, firestorm.coop.