West Virginia

Booktenders – Barboursville, West Virginia

Mandee Cunningham and Ashley Skeen are combining their experience as bartenders with a shared love of books to open Booktenders in Barboursville, West Virginia. The state’s newest indie bookshop, opening its doors this spring, offers a solid selection of new books, coffee, beer and wine. 

The shop blends a clean, modern design with the classic touches of a bookstore bar. And let’s talk about that bar. Designed by Mandee, it features the names of crowdfunding contributors on the pages of books, adding a cool layer to an already gorgeous piece.

Getting your name on the bar wasn’t the only successful crowdfunding opportunity presented to customers. The pair’s creative business plan offered such perks as memorial plaques on the bookstore shelves and letting customers share their own “staff picks” displays. 

The shop offers a variety of coffee drinks, beer and wine, with space at the back of the shop to linger with a beverage and a book or to attend an event such as author signings and adult story hours. Bookish gifts and local artwork are also available.

While the retail space is fairly compact, Booktenders has curated an impressive inventory of new titles, from bestsellers and new releases to generous offerings in children’s, classics and more.

Learn more about Booktenders and get the full story behind this creative new shop in Episode 3 of the Bookstore Explorer podcast, where I go deep with Mandee and Ashley about the challenges and thrills of opening an independent bookstore, and much more. 

Booktenders is located at 621 Central Avenue, Barboursville, WV 25540. Open Tuesday through Sunday.

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