New Chapter: You Can’t Close This Used Bookstore


know knew booksAfter tenants were notified in early December 2020 to vacate the Staunton Mall by the end of the year, Know Knew Books struggled for several months to find the right new location.

The second-hand bookstore, owned by Bill Burruss of Keswick and Matt Shiflett of Waynesboro, has reopened in Goodwill’s former location on Greenville Avenue, just down from the mall.

Then, earlier this year, Burruss and Shiflett learned of a new tenant taking up residence there who could pay more each month for the space.

In late May, Know Knew Books reopened at 707 Richmond Avenue in Staunton, where a consignment store once stood.

“The whole thing is for people to find out that we moved and where we moved,” Burruss said. “It’s good. Retail is the location, and it’s a good location.

The new location on Richmond Avenue only allows for 8,000 merchandise items compared to 12,000 on Greenville Avenue, according to Shiflett. Burruss estimates that the store will be able to offer 85-90% of what it previously offered.

“With the used book market, the problem is always how do you get enough inventory for people,” Shiflett said. As they began unpacking at the Richmond Avenue location, Shiflett said they realized they had enough inventory for a second store.

On July 15, Burruss and Shiflett hope to open a second store at 7228 Hull Street in Richmond where excess merchandise from the Staunton store will be sold.

“That’s what you do,” Burruss said of opening a second location.

Shiflett said that while the used bookstore has almost no competition in the Queen City, Know Knew Books will have competition in Richmond. But the two men look forward to what their company can do.

“As long as you’re making money, there are positives,” Burruss said.

The Richmond Avenue store carries crystals, which were not available at the Greenville Avenue location, as well as the same kinds of books.

“We produce much the same as we were but less [quantity]Fewer copies of each title will be available. “We’re happy with it and hopefully people will come and check it out.”

Know Knew Books continues to welcome book donations for store credit, and volunteers and part-time “who knows the books” helper to help sort and check out merchandise. Anyone interested should message the store on Facebook or come to the Richmond Avenue location.

Shiflett said he and Burruss are also looking for an investor interested in providing them with land to build a bookstore to better future-proof the business without having to continue leasing space.


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