Twenty Stories Bookstore Opens at Hope Artiste Village
Twenty Stories is a sleek and minimalist space created by writers Emory Harkins and Alexa Trembly.
A magical oasis of books has found a home in Pawtucket’s Hope Artiste Village. Nestled in the bricks and mortar building, Twenty Stories is a sleek and minimalist space created by writers Emory Harkins and Alexa Trembly.
You may recognize the Twenty Stories name from the book mobile that has swept the streets of Providence, making appearances outside of coffee and doughnut shops, museums, farmers markets and schools, selling books by innovative and emerging authors of the moment. Harkins and Trembly started their book mobile in Los Angeles, but after nine months, they decided to head back to the East Coast and continue their journey in Providence. A community of book lovers warmly welcomed the van that awaits customers outside popular places like the Nitro Bar or Knead Doughnuts, delighting readers who browse the unique selection of twenty curated books in curbside style.
“There was a certain surprise factor to the book mobile that we loved seeing, the mobile store is an experience,” says Harkins.
With the summer season coming to a close, Harkins and Trembly were in need of a permanent bookstore space that could replicate that interactive and engaging experience. The Hope Artiste Village community is a perfect fit and a full circle moment for Harkins, who used to work in Hope Artiste Village at Seven Stars Bakery back in high school. The network of small business owners who help one another prosper is different from the Los Angeles scene, too.
“There is a wave of young entrepreneurs in Providence that we weren’t really expecting. It’s a more saturated market than Los Angeles and it keeps the economy going so long as the small community supports one another. Everyone is truly invested in helping one another and that is fun to be a part of,” says Trembly.
Inside the Twenty Stories bookstore, tables are filled with colorful hand-picked book titles that are continuously rotating for interested readers. “We select 120 genres of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and literary magazines. We try to focus on young writers, women and women of color in the literary community,” says Harkins. “We want to connect millennial readers to authors who are publishing now and truly celebrate those writers, especially when classics are so heavily pushed in schools.”
In an age when Kindle and audio books are slowly becoming the latest trend, Twenty Stories shows customers how to interact with books in a growing digital age. On the back wall, there is a Poetry Bar, which includes three sets of headphones that allow customers to listen to poetry by authors featured in the store.
“Listening to poetry being read by the author makes it more accessible. We also noticed that the Providence community is into poetry much more than those in Los Angeles, so we wanted to invest in that audience,” says Trembly. Both Harkins and Trembly want Twenty Stories to be more than a “buy a book and leave type of experience.” “We truly want this space to be one where you can pick something up that you won’t be able to find anywhere else and we want to connect and have conversations with our customers; we like to ask them what they like to read and help them find that,” says Harkins.
The pair also has big plans for the flourishing space, where they host drawing nights, local authors, creative workshops and open mic nights that give artists and writers in the community the platform to share their work. They also have a book club that meets once a month to discuss a contemporary piece of fiction. The book mobile will reappear when spring returns, popping up at Providence’s hot spots, but the Twenty Stories bookstore will continue to be a destination for those looking to find a little bit of creativity and magic in their days through the wonderful world of books.
Twenty Stories Bookstore, 1005 Main St., Unit 8206, Pawtucket, 401-216-7380, twentystoriesla.com