By: Angie Haddock
A new indie bookstore just opened up by me, in East Nashville, and I thought it’d be fun to interview the owners about their new space. The shop is called Novelette Booksellers, and it’s located at 1101 Chapel Avenue.
Thanks to Deezy Youngdahl for answering my questions.
Q: Can you tell me about the partners who own the shop?
A: We are the owners, Deezy Youngdahl and Jordan Tromblee! We are both involved in other scenes in town – Jordan’s partner Bryan Weaver opened Redheaded Stranger and is one of the owners of Butcher & Bee. I front a local band called Sad Baxter and have played bass for various people/bands around town as well.
Q: When/how did you come up with the idea of opening a bookshop? Was there a specific need you saw in the community, or did you always have a passion for books?
A: Jordan asked me March 2020 if I’d want to open a bookstore with her. We thought we’d be good business partners and our friendship started because of her reading a book I loved while I waited on her at one of her partner’s restaurants. We decided to do it right as the country was shutting down due to COVID, so it was interesting having to wait a couple years to learn everything we needed to know about opening a shop and dreaming up what we wanted the shop to become.
We definitely felt the bookstores in town lacked a certain vibrancy – we love the bookstores here but wanted a place where you walked in and just immediately knew you were in for a fun time. Reading should be fun, and stories should be shared! We like encouraging a bit of a chatty, goofy energy around reading and think our colorful shop lends itself well to that.
In addition we also are both queer and wanted to have what felt like a little safe haven for those who may be queer or questioning.
We have always both been avid readers. We’re both middle children and went through tough childhoods, so books were a great escape for us. Jordan hustled to win her library challenges as a kid so she could win a pizza party, and I just became obsessed with some fantastical kids’ books and manga – we have always loved talking books but both don’t have a ton of friends who read so now it’s kind of the dream – we get to chat books all day with people!
Q: How did you land on the neighborhood you chose?
A: We landed on East Nashville super easily – we both have lived here for years! I moved here from NJ a little over 9 years ago and only spent my first year outside of East Nashville. Jordan has been here I think 7 years and she’s lived in the east side her whole time here. We feel so at home as part of this community and thought it would be fun to have our shop right where we already called home.
Q: What makes Novelette different from other book spaces in the area?
A: Novelette is a bit different from the other bookstores in the area due to how fun and colorful the interiors are and just from the overall vibe. Jordan and I are both pretty big goofballs who love encouraging readers to read anything that gets ’em reading, so we tried to have a nice sized romance section, middle readers, YA, graphic novels, we have a great little witchy occult section…and we decided to cut out a couple sections that are already carried in the other shops around town like cookbooks, self-help, etc. It feels different here, too, ‘cuz it can get pretty chatty sometimes! It doesn’t feel quite as “serious” as the other local shops in the sense that we both exude a very casual energy – and that, mixed with the big colors all over, encourage our customers to just really be comfortable being themselves while they’re here with us!
Q: Are there any exciting things we should watch out for soon at the shop?
A: Definitely have exciting things on the horizon! After a couple months of just ironing out any kinks we may have as a brand new business, we plan on hosting regular book clubs here, having author events, hopefully doing some fun book-fair stuff, and we’d really like to offer mystery boxes for readers who want to give us prompts and just be surprised by what they get!
We also are going to have our own Discord server up soon so we can all talk books allllll the time with anyone who wants to join! Basically, keep your eyes peeled, ‘cuz we have a lot of fun stuff coming.