Aug. 5—ASHLAND — Once a place where customers enjoyed the aroma of fresh chocolate-covered peanuts is now a store where the smell of new books is immediately evident.
The old G.C. Murphy building is now the site of Broadway Books, and mayor Matt Perkins is already calling it an anchor store in downtown Ashland.
Broadway Books officially opened on Friday with an Ashland Alliance ribbon-cutting ceremony.
While the late Dr. E.B. Gevedon didn't see his vision come to fruition, he was far from forgotten.
Gevedon purchased the building in 2017 with a plan to renovate it and "hopefully attract a significant tenant for downtown Ashland," he said in 2019. "I want the appropriate tenant, so I'll be patient."
At 1537 Winchester Ave., Broadway Books takes up one side of the main floor, while The Mill — a bakery, bar and eatery — is on the other. It will officially open on Tuesday.
Gevedon died in June 2021. John and Brandy Clark took on the project from there.
"We cannot stand here right now and celebrate this big of a day without thinking about Dr. E.B. Gevedon," said Scott Martin, of Ashland Alliance. "This is a huge moment."
Jill Geyer Donta and Nancy Miller co-own Broadway Books. Miller's daughters, Mikal Miller and Lakin Crace, operate The Mill.
"Let's hear it for the women," said city commissioner Cheryl Spriggs. "I'm so happy to see women start their own business and be part of the our business community down here.
"As a voracious reader, I'm going to be a big customer," she added. "I'm so happy to see the resurgence of bookstores."
The well-lit, spacious quarters feature a number of books from a variety of genres, comfortable seating, games, a creative children's area, vinyl records, audio books, colorful decorations and even a large fake tree that looks quite real near the front of the store.
"I want to reiterate our love for the city," Donta said. "When this space became open, well, you can't ask for a better space than right here. ... I hope everyone who comes in enjoys their time here."
Broadway Books is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is open from Thursday-Saturday from 10 to 8. It will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.
"This is a huge day for our city," said commissioner Josh Blanton. "Dr. Gevedon meant so much to so many of us. I know he would be so proud of not only what this business doing but The Mill as well."
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