by Leonard Gill
How many 140-year-olds do you know asking for a bike to celebrate nearly a century and a half of doing business? In Memphis, that would be Burke's Book Store, which was founded in 1875 by Walter Burke on North Main, and it’s been operating at different locations ever since. That makes Burke’s one of the oldest businesses in Memphis still operating (now at 936 S. Cooper) and one of the oldest independent book stores in the country.
Here’s where you come in. Burke’s has launched a crowdfunding campaign on ioby so it can buy a heavy-duty three-wheeler, and it’s asking for those funds by August 31st. The vehicle will not only be used to make deliveries and for special events but as maybe a book mobile. But your contribution doesn’t need to be via ioby. By mail, by phone, or in-store is fine too. Here’s what’s in it for you:
Donate $25 and receive a Burke's tote bag and 25 percent off in-store purchases for one year. The higher the contribution, the longer your discount on in-store purchases. $500? Your discount’s good for life. Everybody gets a tote bag.
For more information on the “Buy Burke’s an Anniversary Gift” campaign, contact the store’s co-owner, Cheryl Mesler, at 901-278-7484.
Also see two of Mesler’s recently posted essays, in a series called “As If I Know What I’m Talking About,” at the online literary journal Change Seven. That’s where you can read Mesler thinking back on the obstacles, both physical and mental, to joining his wife Cheryl and their daughter at the Mid-South Fair, in a piece titled "A Trip to the Fair."
In a separate essay, Mesler again takes readers back in time, this time to his high school's senior yearbook, where he was voted “Most Ambitious.” Over time, Mesler’s made good on his classmates’ vote.
And no “as if” about it. Mesler does know what he’s talking about — be it the private breakthrough he had one year at the Mid-South Fair or the more public recognition he's achieved in the wider world of publishing — a real trip with its own obstacles and keys to success. One key? The word for it's "ambitious." •