OAKHURST – In yet another sign of good times to come, residents can now look forward to a new book and gift store in town, with the as-yet-unspecified but coming-soon opening of Branches.
The new store is described on official company documents as “books, gifts and awesomeness.”
Branches will occupy slightly less than 1,000 sq. ft. in the Junction Plaza Center, located at the intersection of Hwy. 41 and Road 426. Owner and Oakhurst resident Anne Driscoll says the store is in the final stages of construction and she’s anxious to throw open the doors and invite the public in.
With a focus on new books in categories including fiction and nonfiction, young adult, children’s literature, history and cookbooks, the store will also make room for gifts including candles, games, clothes and accessories, plush toys, cards and stationery.
“We’ve got books, gifts, a little apparel, a lot of Yosemite things and we’re really excited!” says Driscoll, who also runs a marketing business. The shopkeeper says new customers can expect something special.
“It’s not going to look like a traditional bookstore, it’s going to be a different concept,” Driscoll promises, adding that she intends to cater to locals along with the tourist market.
“A lot of people up here have kids to buy for and gifts that they want to buy for other people,” says the former Clovis resident. “I always find it’s nice to buy books.”
“Sometimes you might not want to buy yourself a hardback or a nice cookbook, but perhaps you would give that as a gift. So we are going to carry the best sellers, young adult titles, stuff for kids, then listen to what the community wants and add on as needed.”
Driscoll’s husband Brad, originally from Alaska, is a Captain in the Fresno Fire Department. Their daughter is a student at Wasuma school, where the new store owner is also a volunteer. “We moved up here three years ago last March and we always loved it up here,” says the avid reader.
As the Grand Opening of Branches approaches, the Driscoll family is working hard and waiting with great anticipation, 11-year-old Sandra included. “She is ready to have her storytime for the kids at the book store, she’s very excited as well,” says her mom.
Driscoll plans to involve the store with the community, and vice-versa, starting with events that partner the American Bookseller Association and Candlewick Press. Branches will offer an interactive, family-oriented July celebration of the “Where’s Waldo” children’s books, designed to take readers on a tour of local participating businesses in search of the oft-absent character, Waldo.
“There’s a drawing and coupons, and a summer reading program, and I have quite a few things up my sleeve,” she teases. Driscoll is thrilled to be opening her new shop and looks forward to meeting the public as soon as possible.
“I am going to do great community events that will bring people together,” she says. Insofar as what’s on the shelves at Branches, Driscoll says it’s up to her customers. “I’m looking for recommendations and I’d love to hear what people enjoy reading.”
Stay tuned for a big Grand Opening with a date To Be Announced!
For additional information about Branches Books & Gifts call (559) 549-6672.