Carrie’s Writing a Book!

Here at Church Street, we sell books. And now … we write them, too. For the past year or so, I’ve been working on a manuscript of a book about shopping locally, and this morning I launched a Kickstarter to raise money to get the book printed.




You’ve probably seen me sitting in the window table, typing away on my laptop, rearranging notecards, or scribbling on a legal pad. Well, this is what I was working on. The book’s called The Localist, and it’s a little bit non-fiction and a little bit memoir. I wrote a lot about my own adventures in buying locally (including the story of opening Church Street Coffee & Books with Cal and Heather, so if you want all the behind-the-scenes dirt on the shop, this is the book for you). And I also wrote about the reasons buying locally matters to our local and national economies, whether we live in Mountain Brook, Birmingham, or anywhere else in the U.S.


There’s a bit of bittersweet involved in this story as well — I’ll be stepping out of my role at Church Street in order to spend my time writing and promoting the book. I’ll still be an owner (and you’d better believe I’ll still be coming in to hang out, drink coffee and read books), but I’m transitioning from loud barista to silent partner. (Okay, who am I kidding — Cal’s the loud barista. I guess I’ll be transitioning from soft-spoken bookseller to silent partner.)


I won’t be working at Church Street anymore, but you’re in good hands. Cal has been our primary book buyer for about six months now (we swapped a few roles around when we knew I’d be moving on), and he’s been pretty genius at it, making our bookstore one I’m not only proud to own, but also excited to shop at. I went into business with him in the first place because we have the same priorities for our business: Share good books. Make good coffee. And it’s always, always, always the people — our customers, and our baristas — who matter first.


I’d love it if you’d take a look at my Kickstarter video (Church Street has a cameo!) and consider donating to the project and sharing it on social media. The Localist book should come out early next year, and I’m looking forward to celebrating with you, my Church Street family. Maybe I won’t be the one selling you my book, but there’s a good chance I’ll be in line right beside you, sipping a coffee. (Or maybe back at that window table, working on the sequel.)


Carrie Rollwagen is a co-owner at Church Street Coffee & Books, an independent bookstore in Birmingham, Alabama.

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