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Gay Street's newest business: A used bookstore focusing on old and rare novels

From Twain to traveling, the shelves are filled with hundreds of unique books to pique your interest.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A new chapter is beginning on the 100th block of Gay Street. 

Addison's is a 'new' used bookstore that opened this week in Downtown Knoxville, and the books filling the shelves are novels of a unique nature.

The author of this venture is owner Brian Worley.

"Old and rare books have a special charm to them. They have beautiful bindings, beautiful illustrations. Sometimes they have really interesting inscriptions in the front of the book," Worley said.

Locked in the center of the first floor is a bookcase holding some of the rarest in the collection: first editions of Mark Twain and Dickens.

The oldest book in the store dates back to the 1600s. With the focus on antiquarian novels, you'll still find topics you'd see today: cooking, mechanics, travel and pets.

"Yesterday we sold a book and that was a French big coffee table book that was about 200 pages of nothing but pictures of cats," Worley said.

Credit: WBIR
A shelf of rare and old books inside the store.

His vision for the bookstore was to be something the city didn't have.

"I didn't want to make it complementary to the other three bookstores in town. I didn't want to reproduce something that was already there. So that explains the emphasis on old and rare books," Worley said.

The books aren't all you can experience. A tea bar sits within the store, where patrons can also participate in a Chinese tea ceremony.

"It brings something I think is very unique to the area. It's really intriguing, and it's generated a lot of interest so far," Worley said.

Tuesdays through Fridays there will be tea sessions from 2-6 p.m. that visitors can sign up for. The store will hold a tea ceremony on weekends.

Credit: WBIR
Addison's features a tea bar.

The historic brick-walled building offers a quaint setting to curl up with a good book and sip your tea.

"Part of the ambiance that we're trying to achieve here at Addison's is to have a lot of places to sit down and relax and enjoy the books and enjoy coffee and tea, and just talk to people and interact with others," Worley said.

The magic extends downstairs where the bottom floor holds a selection of eclectic and unique books.

While all the books are for sale, Worley also encourages visitors with curiosity.

"We want people to actually intersect with these books in a very hands-on way. Smell them, see the beautiful illustrations and bindings," Worley said. "Even if they don't buy them, just enjoy them and know that they exist."

The name "Addison's" has a special meaning for Worley. It's a family name, the owner Brian's middle name, his father's, and also his daughter's. This October, Worley is expecting a granddaughter who will share it as her middle name too.

The store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and then on Sunday from 12-4 p.m.

In the future, they also plan to rent out their space for events and meetings.

You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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