Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Guest Column: And so, an era ends

By NORMA HAYNES

Special to The Newnan Times-Herald

Change is inevitable, and as I have said time and time again, some change is good and some change not so good. We are now facing a change that is not so good for our town. We are losing one of our best-loved businesses on the square. Scott’s Book Store is about to be no more.

Earlene Scott has been more than just the owner and manager of a well-loved, well-known book store. She has been one of this town’s greatest contributors to all kinds of activities since she has been in business.

Mrs. Scott’s father, Mr. Earl Strickland, owned a small grocery store on East Broad Street where many, many people shopped every day and from which many groceries were delivered into the homes of Newnan citizens. When Mr. Earl died, Earlene turned that grocery store into a small book store and thus Scott’s Book Store was born.

A few years later, she bought the building on the corner of LaGrange Street and South Court Square. That building had started out as a Hosiery Mill and was later purchased by the Mansour family, where Mr. Ellis Mansour began his department store, Ellis Mansour & Sons. Later, Mansour’s moved into a larger building on the west side of the Court Square where it flourished, managed by the Mansour family for many, many years. When the Mansour family moved, the building was bought by Mr. Frank Hudson, who established Western Auto on that corner. After Mr. Hudson’s death, Mrs. Scott purchased the building.

In the upstairs part of Scott’s Book Store, there are still items left from the old Western Auto Store, and there is evidence of the Hosiery Mill. There are six fireplaces still in the walls of the upstairs.

Scott’s Book Store was born, and immediately Mrs. Scott became a vital part of the downtown Newnan that she loves. She was always the first one to send a check to the Newnan Coweta Public Safety Benevolent Fund to honor our public safety workers. Every charity was cheerfully supported by her when the occasion arose. She had an Angel Tree every Christmas which was dedicated to giving books to children who were unable to buy their own. She graciously sold tickets for any upcoming production presented in Newnan and Coweta County.

Mrs. Scott hired many young high school students who still contend she was such an influence on their lives and she gave them a chance to prove they could do the work there in the book store.

My late husband, J.T., spent many hours browsing in the wonderful book store, and even when his disease progressed, I would take him to Scott’s because that would bring a smile to his face. When he walked through the door, every one of those sweet ladies would welcome him and call him by name. How he grinned when he walked between the shelves of books. Though he got to the place that he was unable to read, it didn’t matter to the people at Scott’s Book Store because they were only too glad to talk with him and assure him he was welcome.

If Scott’s didn’t have a book that you wanted, Earlene Scott would go out of her way to be sure she could get it for you. And how the little children loved going through the children’s side of the store, sitting at the little tables provided and looking at books. They, too, were made to feel special.

Scott’s Book Store was the scene of many famed authors signing their books and greeting their readers. Mrs. Scott made each one feel very special. And she made each person who came by for an autograph feel very welcome.

People who walked through the door of Scott’s were warmly welcomed and usually called by their names. Yes, most of the time, the owner was in and available. People have come from all around this state and neighboring states to browse in one of the most comfortable and inviting book stores anywhere around.

When Earlene granted us the right to have that marvelous mural painted on the side of her building, it was another way in which she showed her devotion and love for this town. I never pass that mural that I don’t think of her generosity in allowing this tribute to Newnan’s past.

It is with a sad heart that I say goodbye to Scott’s Book Store. It will leave a terrible void in my wonderful “uptown,” but I know that Earlene Scott has given her all to the town she loves and to the establishment of a business which has benefited so many and is loved by so many. I hope she can work in her flowers as she plans, and I hope that she can continue to read the books she loves so dearly. Now, she will have the time.

Scott’s Book Store will be missed by hundreds for a long, long time. Yes, some changes are good, and some are not so good.

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