Sundog Books In Seaside Is Such A Pleasure
October 18, 2010 by Gina Moreland
Sundog Books, at the heart of Seaside’s charm, definitely has its own story. Stepping up to the porch, you start to get the feeling this isn’t your average bookstore – and you’re right!
You may be greeted by a local author on the porch, signing her latest dream. As you pass over the threshold onto the worn hardwood floor you'll spot Patty, the owners' 14-year-old dog. She's part of the welcoming committee and an easy reminder to slow it on down. Yes, right away, the experience is a step back in time.
So, what is the Sundog story? Where did it all begin? Well, once upon a time…
Bob and Linda White, owners of Sundog, moved down to Grayton Beach from Mississippi with the dream of opening a restaurant. They began working at the Paradise Café, which many local folks remember fondly. It was there that they waited on a man you may have heard of, Robert Davis, who inherited some land and was developing a little-ole-town called Seaside.
“Back in those days,” Linda said, “there were only a handful of people here. Everybody knew everybody.”
“Robert wanted to bring a bookstore to Seaside,” Linda recalls.
As luck would have it, Bob happened to have friends back in Mississippi who owned bookstores. As a lover of books (and dogs) he relied on his friend’s advice to help set up the Sundog Bookstore we know today.
"After all," White joked, “Outside of dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.” He happily admits he stole that line from Groucho Marx. This is just the kind of easy smile that is commonplace at Sundog Books.
When asked about a point of pride, Linda shared, “I would have to say our selection and our staff. Our selection is unique because it is handpicked. Bob does a lot of reading reviews in magazines and the NY Times. All of our staff is definitely knowledgeable and constantly reading - and they will recommend books. Talking to customers, getting their feedback and personalizing the experience…we take pride in that. “
Though general fiction and children’s books are their biggest genres and top sellers, everything is easy to find due to the store's unique organizational approach.
Linda explains, “Bob wanted to have the store set up not alphabetically, but grouped by subject, like International Fiction.”
This approach allows the customers to identify that if they like this, they might also like…that. The grouping system also allows the employees to get to know customers by asking “Are you looking for a specific author?”
With only four full-time employees (outside of seasonal influx), you can bet the employees know their store inside and out.
Speaking of outside, the Sundog building was originally designed to be a part of the Seaside Neighborhood School and sit across from the Lyceum.
Linda offered insight, “we rent this space, but originally this was a temporary building which was to be picked up and moved. In fact, it is just like the school buildings.”
Whether the building is ever moved or not, Linda assured they won’t be leaving Seaside. However, there have been recent changes. On September 1, the White’s sold Central Square Records (located above the bookstore) to longtime friends and coworkers, Tom and Jenny King.
To learn more about this exciting transition, visit: http://SoWal.com/story/central-square-records-rocking-new-owners.
“We have been friends for a long time and we are really happy for them,“ Linda commented.
A calm happiness with authentic southern charm is what Sundog is all about. So if you haven’t been in a while, or if you’ve never been, be sure to check out Sundog Books for your next…"happily ever after".
Visit Sundog Books 9:00am – 7:00pm, seven days a week or online @ http://www.sundogbooks.com.
A sun dog or sundog (scientific name parhelion) is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun.
Sundogs may appear as a colored patch of light to the left or right of the sun, 22° distant and at the same distance above the horizon as the sun, and in ice halos. They can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. Sundogs are best seen and are most conspicuous when the sun is low.
Or maybe it's just a dog lying in the sun around Seaside, Florida.