For weeks, Pop-Hop co-owner Sarah Balcomb would leave the bookshop's front door open as she prepared for opening day. Often, she said, curious neighbors who popped in would be politely turned away, informed that the shop wasn't quite ready for the public. On Tuesday, for the first time, Balcomb was pleased to welcome the community into Pop-Hop and invite them to stay awhile.
Highland Park's newest bookstore, located at 5002 York Blvd., won't hold its grand opening until Sunday, May 20, but until then, Pop-Hop's small but impressive collection of books is ready to browsed.
Balcomb amassed the inventory in the months leading to Pop-Hop's opening through donation events and by scouring the collections of friends and family. She then pared down the collection so that it resembles "the library of a friend who has really great taste."
PopHop currently boasts a healthy mix of classic and modern fiction, non-fiction, art history and cook books. Astute readers will also find rare prints and first editions in the mix as well, along with crates of oddities and lesser titles.
"I want to be introduced to new books, and I want to introduce people to new books," said Balcomb, who has lived in the neighborhood for three years.
Balcomb, who handles the bookshop end of Pop-Hop, hopes that spirit of collaboration will inform every aspect of the shop's operation--community members are encouraged to pitch ideas about classes they'd like to teach at the shop.
"The classes will come from a combination of us reaching out to people who we think would be great, and people coming into the shop and sharing their ideas with us," she said.
The print studio located at the back of Pop-Hop is still being assembled, but should be ready for the May 20 grand opening party.
Long fascinated by the crafts of printing and book binding, co-owner Robey Clark said he hopes the print studio will allow visitors to put into practice the inspiration they receive from PopHop's collection.
Clark had spent the last two years working at the nearby Outspost for Contemporary Art, and became interested in Pop-Hop's current location when he learned that former tenant Kristi Engle would no longer be hosting art exhibits there.
Clark said that, eventually, he'd like to see Pop-Hop become a local hub of printing, design and 'zine making.
"We wanted to create a place where people could be inspired and then really put that inspiration to work," he said.