Waco Chat

Having a Drink with Kimberly & Blake Batson

By Kevin Tankersley

Co-Owners of Common Grounds

“It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of doing.”

One of the things we love about the shop by Baylor is the character of the building. It’s an old house. — BB

Fabled Bookshop & Café will be at Fourth [Street] and Franklin [Avenue] in the building that has the Wacotown mural. It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of doing. –KB

I’ve carried this dream for a long time and thought, ‘How do you even open a business?’ In college, I remember thinking, ‘How do you even start?’ Then I married Blake, and we’ve had lots of experiences to learn and do a build new things. –KB

I’m a huge reader. I was an English major at Baylor. I’ve just always loved the local, independent bookshop. What we’ve found is that for independent bookstores, sales are still rising, like 5 to 6 percent every year. We were happily surprised and encouraged. We can do this. There’s traction. –KB

And with the response we’ve gotten from the Waco community, there’s a market for this, 100 percent. I’ll buy books online from Amazon, but if I go into a bookstore, I’ll buy the book I went in for and three more that I didn’t event plan to get because there’s that discoverability happening in the store. If this huge online presence [Amazon] is opening brick-and -mortar bookshops, there’s something to it. –KB

You’ll have an experience going into a bookshop that you can’t curate online. –BB

I love fiction, and I always have a poetry book going. I’ll usually have one of each going at all times. I’m reading Wendell Berry’s book of poetry called ‘This Day.’ –KB

I’m reading ‘Lord of the Rings.’ I’ve tried over the last four years to read it every year. It’s one of those great epic novels. I feel like I learn something new about myself and about life. There’s so much depth to it. –BB

A lot of what we do is going where the need is for that day or week or season. –KB

I bounce around a lot, as you can imagine. I have a really great team, great managers under me which is why I’m able to do, with partners, multiple concepts. I check in daily with my core management team. We’ll focus on different things depending on what day or month or season it is. –BB