Talking about books is one of Anne Driscoll's favorite things to do, and something she will get to do on a daily basis now as the owner of Branches Books. The bookstore, located in Junction Plaza off Highway 41 in Oakhurst, is scheduled to open at 9 a.m., Monday, June 3.
"I love reading and have always loved reading since I was little," Anne said. "There's something neat about books -- you find part of yourself in them."
Anne hopes to attract a variety of readers with shelves holding more than 2,000 books that cover a variety of genres such as fiction, biographies, autobiographies, politics, cooking, business, parenting, science fiction, graphic novels and children's and young adult books. Branches also carries books on Yosemite.
"I really want to promote literacy and stewardship relating to where we live," Anne said.
Anne opened the store with her husband, Brad. The Driscolls moved to Oakhurst three years ago, but living in the country isn't new to them. Even though they moved from Fresno, they were previously residents in the mountain town of Shaver. Brad said they moved to Oakhurst because they like the area, and he can still commute to Fresno where he is a fire captain for the City of Fresno.
Anne said she thought about opening store when they first moved to Oakhurst, but it wasn't the right time. When Willow Bridge Books closed last August, though, Anne and Brad decided it was time to begin working on their own bookstore. Anne isn't new to retail. She helped open Longs Drugs in Oakhurst a number of years ago and also worked for Whole Foods in Fresno. Anne also has a marketing business called "Build Media Marketing," which she will also run out of the bookstore.
Anne said they debated on what the store's name should be for about a month. It was her mother-in-law who finally suggested "Branches" and the whole family fell in love with it immediately.
"It incorporates the gorgeous area we live in, while having many meanings," Anne said. "There are different branches of books, or genres, and branches of family, friends and community -- I thought it just sounded cool."
Anne has many plans for Branches, including a story time for children. The Driscoll's 11-year-old daughter, Sandra, plans to help out with story time. Anne also hopes to draw in teens and young adults by allowing them to write reviews on books that are not yet available to the public, but are available to bookstore owners.
Anne will also host a summer reading program for readers entering grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. The premise will be to complete a six book reading challenge and come back at the end of the summer to claim a reward. The program is scheduled to launch Wednesday, June 26.
"I want it to be a community hub where people can come and mingle and relax, bring a coffee and sit outside and read," Anne said.