The smell of books fills the historic building at 123 Main St. in downtown Nacogdoches. The large windows at the front of the building illuminate the shelves of novels, vinyls and art that hang from almost every corner. At The Bosslight, local creativity and local writing converge into a charming bookstore, run by native writer Tim Bryant.
The Bosslight is a Nacogdoches-based bookstore that opened in October 2016 and is in the progress of expanding its business to create more community engagement.
Bryant is a writer and musician who is not new to the world of business. His family operated The Runaway Mule, a Nacogdoches themed t-shirt company. While they sold t-shirts, Bryant also sold his and a few other Texas authors’ novels. But the inventory eventually grew.
“The more I wrote, the more I was meeting a lot of writers, and I really came at the bookstore from that angle instead of being a book seller,” Bryant said. “It just became the thing to do. You know, sometimes your future just comes to you and it was like, ‘Okay, this is what we need to do.’”
The Bosslight is the only bookstore of its kind in Nacogdoches after the closing of Hastings last fall.
While there are Christian bookstores and textbook stores, people still have a place to go and relax while enjoying the writing and art of the area.
“We are a bookstore because that’s the way that I think of it as. That’s the primary reason we’re here. We specialize in local and area and Texas authors, but not totally the Stephen Kings and Neil Gaimans and everything,”
Bryant said. “We wanted to be something more than a bookstore
and something a little different for downtown Nacogdoches. We do have our shirts, which are Nacogdoches-themed shirts primarily, and we have a lot of arts and crafts, and they’re all from local people. We don’t bring in anything from China or something like that. It’s all local.”
Additionally, The Bosslight does offer special orders for the books readers can’t find in the store. While it is a task that can be accomplished online, Bryant suggests his customer service is hard to beat.
“You’d be surprised how many people come in here and tell me that they know they could order it on Amazon, but they’d rather order it from us because we’re local and they can talk to me,” Bryant said. “They get to know me. I try to establish relationships with the people that come in so I know them. I had a lady come in here that liked a particular mystery series, but there were only five books in the series, so she read them pretty fast. So I found another series that had eight or nine and she loved them, and now I’ve got a third for her. I get to know people, and they get to know me. And I think that’s something that Amazon, for all it’s got, will never be able to do.”
The Bosslight has already began creating more community engagement with their most recent addition of the Main Pecan. The Main Pecan is the back of the store where they hope to have book signings, a book club, poetry readings, literary readings and more.
“Just different things, just shake it up and do different things. We want to be the kind of bookstore that you never know what you’re going to see when you go in. There’s always something new going on,” Bryant said.
“My point is that we want this to be a place of creativity where people can come and we would be able to offer some kind of service to help facilitate whatever you’re doing.”
Some SFA students have made the trip to The Bosslight and have found it satisfies their needs.
“I love The Bosslight. It’s like a little corner of Austin! Tim Bryant, the owner and author, is very welcoming,” Cheyenne
Connors, an Austin native, said. “He sincerely likes to get to know his patrons. The biggest reason I love The Bosslight is that Tim wants the shop to be a place where ideas meet creative and caring locals. He recently had a cat-themed book signing for an author who wrote a book on how to care for cats. He plans to have poetry readings and much more. He sells a lot of local authors books, music and art. He even hired a local painter to put in a large mural. I think it’ll be a local staple for years to come.” Additionally, Bryant does make an emphasis on art as anyone can see in the store. A large mural takes up the back of the store, and Bryant mentioned his willingness to help local artists sell and show their pieces.
“I went to the bookstore because Tyson Davis, a local artist, was hosting an art show at the bookstore. I appreciate the fact that they are a locally owned store that supports local talent in the community,” John L. Davis IV, a senior at SFA, said.
“The store isn’t a library, so there isn’t a wide range of materials to choose from; however, they did have some exclusives. If you’re looking for a cool place, with cool people to browse around and find new books, I would recommend the store any day.”
The Bosslight has a Facebook and Instagram for those who are interested in finding out more about upcoming events.
“All you have to do is come in once, look around and talk to me, get a feel for what we’re doing. It’s more than just the books,” Bryant said. “I mean, go up and down the rows of books and look, and you’ll find something, and maybe there will be a book that calls out to you, but it’s the whole environment. We’re just trying to create something down here that’s a refreshing environment for downtown Nacogdoches.”