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Do You Know? Lottie Griffith

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DYK-LottiePhotos by K2 Images

From the very first glance, Lottie’s Books is special. Born of the quaint notion of the joy of words through reading, its idea grew up in the heart of Lottie Griffith. Although only slightly over five feet tall, she stands well over ten feet tall with her voracious appetite for reading, learning, and meeting the needs of a community yearning for depth in its literature. Her store, located just east of downtown Huntsville, is regarded as a treasure. This independent bookstore comes complete with books that span genres of westerns, romance, science fiction, non-fiction, paranormal, thrillers, and Christianity. The store promises to provide something for everyone. Individuals often find what interests them within the shelves of Lottie’s Books. She seems to always know her customers and, better still, they know and understand her as well. Yet, the store is only a reflection of the personality of its owner—well organized, clean, cozy, and (like many of her books), an interesting page-turning story.

What gave you the idea to start a bookstore?

I’d worked at another bookstore prior to this one for about four years, and I decided I could really do this on my own and do a much better job at it.

DYK-Bookshelf-PurpleYou must have a strong enthusiasm for reading?

I really do enjoy reading. Reading has a way of taking you places you’ve never been. It has a way to just relax the mind and is a great way to learn, as well as being a wonderful stress reliever.

Tell us where you are from.

I’m all the way from Lexington, Kentucky. My husband Jerry’s job brought us here to Huntsville a number of years ago. I’d like to say if there is anyone that holds true to that old saying, “I was not born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could,” that would be us. My husband has always wanted to live in the state of Texas.

DYK-Bookshelf-WireCan you explain your relationship with books and reading?

I think it all started at a very interesting time in my life. My father-in-law was ill in the hospital and would later pass away. But during my many hours visiting his bedside, there was always someone who came around with a book cart. I remember it was just such a very intense time. So, I picked up a book and simply started reading. Sometimes, all it takes is the right author, and you are hooked.

Do you remember the author and the book?

I do! I do! It was Loves Music, Loves to Dance by Mary Higgins Clark. They’ve made movies about it.

What was the name of your former bookstore, and tell us more about your transition.

My former bookstore was the Book Exchange. What began the parting of our ways, so to speak, was their decision to remove all inspirational books from their shelves. I told my husband that if they ever did that, I was leaving. I’m going to find another place.

DYK-BiblesWhy?

I just feel anyone or anything that doesn’t want to have anything to do with the Lord is just not for me. So that’s what they were doing. That’s the direction they were going, and I didn’t want that. I told my husband that if I ever had a store, I’d build on inspirations. That’s why, when people come in and they want or need a Bible, I give them away—because there is no price for the Word of God.

DYK-Lottie-TalkingYou mean you don’t sell them?

That’s what I do. I know people can’t believe that, but that’s what I do. The Bible is free to anyone who walks through our doors.

Tell us more.

After giving my two week notice, my husband and I discussed finding a place and buying our books and starting over. There was a store in Conroe at that time that offered to help us out with books to get started. Later, I was able to purchase more books from another bookstore that was going out of business in Onalaska. That enabled me to get started. Then I saw this place on the way into Huntsville one morning.

DYK-StorefrontHow long did that take?

It took six weeks. Only six weeks from the time I left the other bookstore, and I was in this building, with books on the shelf and open for business. The Lord made a way for me, and it was all perfect. Everything fell into place. I got my license, had books on the shelves, got business cards, my bookmarks, everything. God didn’t leave anything out. So, I knew it was all from Him.

DYK-Dog-EarsWhat was that like?

I’d never run a business before. It was funny, because at first my head was spinning around on my shoulders like in the movie The Exorcist. I kept thinking, “Lord, what just happened?” Because in an instant, a twinkling of an eye, He had me set up here.

When was this?

It was in March six and a half years ago.

DYK-Bookshelves-Wide-2How many books do you have on hand today?

We are fortunate enough to have 22,000 books on hand, with another 17,000 in reserve held in storage.

What’s your favorite literary genre?

Of course, inspirational are my favorite, but I also recommend inspirational romance, children’s inspirational, or inspirational suspense. One of my favorites is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I love cookbooks and, of course, the classics. I really enjoy all of them.

DYK-Open-BookAs we look around, this is a home converted into a library, with a perfect atmosphere for reading. How did you do it?

My husband and a friend of ours built everything by hand. My husband also came up with the name and the logo, and I just think it all works so well.

DYK-BookcoversWhat, in your opinion, is the advantage of books over e-books?

That’s easy. If you lose power, you still can read a book. You never have to worry about backup battery power. If you drop your book, it won’t break. If it’s dropped in water or lost, it is not nearly as expensive to replace. Plus, it is something you can hold—write your thoughts down in it. Books have a way of just becoming a part of you in ways that digital devices simply can’t. Many people live on fixed incomes or may be in a situation where they have to watch every penny. In a lot of situations, it just makes more sense to have a book.

DYK-Book-BagWhat is your philosophy on life?

I believe it is to be thankful for what God has blessed you with. Just think, “If you are only allowed to have what you thank God for, what would you really have?” I think about that daily. I try to take time out to thank God for everything. I thank him for my life, my family, health, this store, and everyone who walks through the door. I believe books set the tone and open the door for conversation. In a lot of ways, that’s what I’m here for in this community.

The door is open for conversation with Lottie at 325 Highway 190 E Huntsville, Texas 77340, or call (936) 436-1700.

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