Harvest Christian Bookstore opens on Court Square
by Clay Neely
“You’re looking at nine weeks worth of work right here,” says Patrick Mims, co-owner and founder of Harvest Christian Bookstore.
“It was nine weeks from idea to delivery,” he said.
Patrick Mims and his business partner, Susan Boyd, never ventured into the world of retail — until now. Their idea to open a Christian bookstore in the location of Scott’s Bookstore, on Newnan’s South Court Square, was sparked one evening during a Bible study.
The partners are childhood friends and longtime residents of Newnan. Patrick’s father worked for 45 years in retail — but that was the extent of Patrick’s experience with the world.
“I know that this (retail) is way out of my comfort zone, but that’s the way the Lord works. When he is ready to put you where you need to be, it may be something entirely different that what you’re used to,” Mims said.
Mims owned his own construction business for more than 20 years and currently works a full-time job delivering equipment for movie sets while Boyd works nights as a customer service manager.
“We both have management skills. It’s funny how we have all the tools for what we need, we just didn’t know what we needed them for until now,” he said.
Like several of the other new businesses currently residing on the Court Square, the business partners knew they were filling the shoes of a giant. Scott’s Bookstore, a beloved local shop, closed its doors for good last March, when Earlene Scott retired.
“We rang Miss Earlene a week or two after our idea and she said to Susan, ‘I was waiting for your call,’” recalls Mims.
“She turned down a lot of people; some folks even offered her triple the rent, but she just said, ‘No. I know that there will be another bookstore here.’ She was just willing to wait,” he said.
When Mims and Boyd told Scott of their plans for the space, Scott simply said, “I can’t wait,” and has been an enthusiastic supporter of the new store since.
“At the ribbon cutting, she told us both, ‘Y’all are going to do wonderfully.’ And that was huge to me because we both grew up here,” said Mims.
Mims is fond of recalling the parable of the two farmers, both praying for rain, one preparing his field while the other did not.
“Which one do you think had the bigger harvest,” asked Mims.
“This is our field and we have prepared,” he said, pointing around the room.
In between their working hours, they managed to create a bookstore from the bottom up within the span of nine weeks.
Mims confesses that there have been a few tests of faith along the way. Just prior to the ribbon cutting, half of the store’s inventory was on back order.
“I got on the phone with the distributors, asking them about the holdup. They replied, ‘This is our busy season. We’re getting ready for going into Christmas.’ So I just laughed and said to myself ‘well, I guess it will get here when it gets here.’” “And wouldn’t you know it? Immediately following our ribbon cutting, two giant UPS trucks pulled up and filled up a quarter of our inventory,” Mims smiles.
One of the nicest features of the fledgling book shop is the existing mural from the old store — still intact with the once sky blue border now painted crimson, giving the mural a slightly different perspective while acting as a wonderful and familiar reminder of the previous tenant.
“We are proud to be the only Christian bookstore located in Newnan, GA,” Mims says.
He doesn’t necessarily view any of the nearby Christian bookstores as competition, per se.
“They all view themselves as companies. We view ourselves as a ministry, seeking to build a relationship with the people of the community,” he said.
“It’s been a blessing. This was the most fun I’ve had in nine weeks in all of my adult life,” Mims said.
As he swept the sidewalk the day of the ribbon cutting, a lady passerby asked him if he was already opening and Mims said “yes ma’am.”
She responded, smiling “that’s amazing” and walked on.