Columbus, Georgia. Judy Bug’s Books.
(First in SMB Stories series)
There is no conversational door he doesn’t enter. Ask him any question and before you utter your last word he is answering in full throttle.
We visited Judy Bug’s Books on a recent trip to Columbus, GA to get away for a day. There we met Alek, owner of Judy Bug’s Books, a native of Columbus, Georgia.
Judy Bug’s Books, his bookstore, branded as his mother’s namesake. But Alek is the star here. You’ll have to ask how he named the store. Alek saves that for on-demand.
He begins the story with what appears to be great pride around his mother Judy, known as “Bug.” He is proud of her history as a prominent patron of the arts and community supporter. He said she’ll “never have a statue in her honor in Columbia.” So, of course the son, the good son, named his bookstore, his passion, after his mother.
You hear in his narrative how the naming was a big decision for him. All the enthusiasm and energy stopped, stopped dead, when I asked how he named the store.
He described himself and his birth order in the family after listing the family members. And described himself as the diminutive offspring. Diminutive? Not true from my vantage point, and no, I don’t know any of his family, but his eyes told it all to me. His eyes danced while talking books and lifetime and lifestyle. So much passion, and so much gratitude for his bookstore.
As you enter, you’ll note his bookshelf a bit to the side of and angled toward “his” counter on “his side” of the store.
Absent from that singular bookshelf is a sign that should say, “Alek’s Picks.” But the absence is by design. Alek is anxious for any request to discuss his book selections. He’ll spare no breath nor energy to discuss which books he deems the best. He is also abreast of the most recent authors known and unknown, series old and new.
It’s his passion.
Alek proffers his literary preferences, his life story, his favorite local bars, and the history of his beloved Columbus. There’s no trace of a southern accent. He explained his metropolitan accent is from parents not native to the South.
As we checked out, he gave us a “friends and family discount” on our two book sale. I’d have bought more, but once the conversations began I became glued and didn’t have a chance to browse! Before we knew it, we had to get back on the road home. Thus, I bought only what I already had in hand.
He gave us that discount, he said, because he told us to buy the 2nd book. I would have paid a boutique price regardless. I realized he gives the discount to anyone who allows him to tell his stories and brag on his book selections. That’s his pay.
We spent only an hour there, but we all fell in love with Alek and his bookstore. We’ll be back.
I’ll have to make him a sign for his bookshelf.
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