Oxford’s city council has approved a loan to help a couple bring a chain that mixes books and craft beer to the city’s Uptown area at the site of a former brewery.
Ann Kamphaus and her husband, Neil, have proposed to open an Oxford location of Books & Brews in the building at 107 E. Church St., the location of the former Quarter Barrel restaurant. The locations include book sales, board games, their own craft beers and other elements to spur “disconnecting people from technology and reconnecting them with each other,” according to the chain’s website.
City Council recently approved a loan of $63,250 at an interest rate of 3 percent for seven years.
“Books & Brews considers itself a place where people from all walks of life can gather, share in conversations, enjoy a craft beer, dine together, buy a book and read it, play a board game as well as participate in planned activities like trivia, bingo and open mic night,” Oxford Economic Development Director Alan Kyger wrote in his staff report.
Kamphaus said she and her husband have wanted to start a bookstore since coming to Oxford and finding none there.
“I wanted to provide a bookstore and a place people could come to socially and disconnect,” she said.
The are 10 Books & Brews locations, all in Indiana, she said.
The business will be a used book store with books coming from donations, library sales and Borders discount offerings but she plans a shelf of new books from Penguin Random House Publishing. She said an important part of the business model is donating back to the community and plans to give 10 percent of book sales profits to the Oxford Literacy Team which provides books and programs to promote reading by elementary students in the Talawanda School District in the summer.
Company founder Jason Wuerfel brews craft beers in Indianapolis and the franchise requires each one carry five of them, all named for authors, but others are available.
The food menu is simple requiring the hiring of a cook, not a chef, but will offer items in categories—Prologue for appetizers, Chapters for a variety of panini sandwiches, Non-fiction for Naan bread offerings and Sweet Endings for desserts.
There will be a kids’ menu.
“We want to make Books & Brews as much a part of the community as possible,” she said. “We will offer free wi-fi, even though we want it to be a place where people disconnect.”
Part of that may include regular Pop-up shops held there to allow women entrepreneurs without a bricks and mortar place a chance to locate there for business for a day.
Kamphaus said they hoped to open for business in June but plan to be a part of Oxford Chamber of Commerce and Community Foundation events prior to that.
“If everyone who complained about no bookstore in Oxford shows up, you will be as busy as can be,” Council Member Edna Southard said.