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New brick-and-mortar bookstore and coffee shop opening in Elk Grove

Emily Autenreith says demand for bookstores has been on the rise in recent years.

ELK GROVE, Calif. — A new bookstore in Elk Grove hopes to be a place in town where adults can be adults and kids can just be kids.

“We noticed a couple years ago that there’s no bookstore and coffee shop, but we think that our community could really use one and enjoy one,” said Emily Autenrieth, owner of A Seat at the Table.

One of the key elements for Autenrieth is a sense of community for everyone and anyone. The bookstore would have a wide range of books for all ages, a coffee shop with Temple coffee, and a play area for kids.

If the store's name sounds familiar, it might be because you caught wind of their online store. That’s how A Seat at the Table got started, functioning mostly online and in some pop-up locations like the NeighborGood Market. While they got started online, Autenrieth said the brick-and-mortar shop was always the main vision.

“The online and pop-up store has been a great way to get to know the community, to let you get to know us and find out what you value the most in our space so that by the time we open, we’re really meeting as many needs as we can,” Autenreith said.

The shop will also offer teas, simple breakfasts, lunch items, snacks, local bakery goods, a conference room and even a “quiet room,” which Autenrieth said could help autistic children take a break from their surroundings if they get overwhelmed. Other goods would include books, toys, games, puzzles, and items from local makers.

Community events, family nights, and performances by local artists would also be features for the shop.

According to a news release, the indie bookstore will also be the closest one of its kind to communities in Wilton, Galton, Lodi and Stockton.

While bookstores might not be as common as they once were, Autenreith said that their lack of presence isn’t necessarily pointing to a lack of demand. In brief, she said that it is hard to start a bookstore and coffee shop, but the demand is there.

“It’s something that we value so much and (that) the community needs that it’s worth taking this leap, and we trust that the community is going to respond strongly,” Autenrieth said.

“It is not the same thing to browse a website with its algorithm targeting you as it is to walk into a community space… They know you. They care about you,” she added, in reference to differences between online stores like Amazon and local bookstores.

Autenrieth is hoping to open the doors to A Seat at the Table by November of 2021. The location will be 9257 Laguna Springs Ste. 130. If you’d like to stay in touch with the shop, you can follow them on Facebook or subscribe to their newsletter.

Credit: Brian Bassard
A pop-up site for A Seat at the Table books

WATCH ALSO: Inside look of Elk Grove's first city-run community center