A story of community: How one woman’s dream transformed into Franklin’s favorite bookshop

FRANKLIN, Ind. – Like all good tales, the story behind Wild Geese Bookshop is as wonderful as the ones you’ll find inside on the shelves.

Tiffany Phillips and her family moved to Franklin in 2015 after her husband took a position in the English Department at Franklin College. However, it didn’t take the avid bibliophile long to realize something was missing in this sweet, small town: an independent bookstore.

When Tiffany Phillips first rented the quaint property located at 107 S Water Street in downtown Franklin, she had intended it to be an office for her law work.

Photo credit: Wild Geese Bookshop Facebook page

But there was also an opportunity for the attorney to follow her other passion by opening a much-needed independent bookstore within the space was going to use for her day job.

“Honestly, when I started it was just going to be for my law work. I just thought, ‘I need to get out of the house and meet some people,'” said Phillips. “And when I looked at the space, it was zoned in such a way that I knew we could do commercial space in the front.”

In fall of 2016, that space became Wild Geese Bookshop.

“It was just something that I always kind of had in my heart,” she said. “Franklin had a need [for an independent book store] and I needed Franklin too in a lot of ways.”

Today, the bookshop is Phillips’ full-time job. The former law office space has been transformed into a children’s room and Wild Geese Bookshop is going strong-- thanks to a supportive community that she says is “unlike any other.”

Entryway to the kids' room (Photo credit: Wild Geese Bookshop Facebook page)

“I don’t know that Wild Geese Bookshop--in its current form--would have been successful in a lot of other communities,” she said. “But this is the kind of place that values handshakes, eye contact, slowing down, taking time with one another.”

In Franklin, she found the inspiration and support she needed to finally pursue her dream.  So when it came time to name her new shop, Phillips looked to the poem “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver.

“It’s about it being OK to love what you love,” she explained. “That was something I really wrestled with in doing a job that felt like, ‘I should do this but this is not a good fit for me.'”

Photo credit: Instagram @seesophieread

“There’s also a line in that poem that says, ‘Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination…' And I think that’s the great thing about books. You can let your curiosity lead you to your next discovery,” she added.

Within the walls of the almost fairy tale-like cottage that Wild Geese Bookshop now calls home, Phillips discovered a community that was eager to connect through events like their monthly book club meetings.

Photo credit: Wild Geese Bookshop Facebook page

“We’re in a time when people are separated a lot on their screens and there are a lot of teams people get divided out into,” she said. “But in the bookstore, people are interacting. They’re meeting each other.  They’re coming to book club and they’re connecting which is what I think we really need most in community now.”

They also hold special author events that give readers the opportunity meet the author one on one and enjoy a truly unique experience.

“We always try to add something so it’s not just an author signing. We try to cultivate an experience,” said Phillips. “What we want to do is get people out and get people together, because together in person, in real life is where we’re all at our best.”

Four Things You Need to Know About Wild Geese Bookshop:

  • Initially, the space now known as Wild Geese Bookshop was intended to be used as space for then-practicing attorney Tiffany Phillips to do her law work. However, Franklin’s need for an independently-owned local book store eventually led her to pursuing her dream of opening her very own bookshop in 2016.
  • Wild Geese Bookshop is dedicated to building community through book club gatherings, author events and other special events, as well as their popular quarterly used book sales that benefit various charities. "Our last one was to benefit the USO’s Bob Hope Literacy Foundation program,” said owner Tiffany Phillips.
  • Looking for a good deal? Wild Geese Bookshop gives a 20% discount off hardcover books on Tuesdays and 10% off discount for teachers and students every day of the week.
  • On the go? They have an audio book platform through their website. They also recently introduced a new e-reader platform to their website as well, making books more accessible than ever for their customers. “It’s nice especially if you need large print and we have some customers who prefer that,” Phillips said.

A quick look at their social media or website reveals a full lineup of events. Some of the upcoming events include a Reader’s Night Out event and author events featuring authors like Julie Young (a locally based author who wrote The Burger Chef Murders in Indiana) as well as an event featuring one of her current favorite books.

“I’m very excited about Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl, who writes for the New York Times,” Phillips said. “She’s going to be coming to the Artcraft Theatre September 24th at 6 p.m. So if you buy the book here, you get to go to the event.”

You can discover new books by checking out their list of best sellers and Franklin Favorites. And although shopping online might be easier, Phillips says there’s no replacing the personal connection you’ll find within an independent book shop.

“Some of the Amazon algorithms will help you know what you’ve done in the past. A bookseller at a bookstore will help you know, ‘What do I want to do in the future? Who do I want to be? What am I curious about?'” she explained

“And if a child in your life isn’t a big reader, ask them, ‘What are you curious about?’ And we can help them find books," she added.

After you’ve chosen the perfect book, don’t forget to scope out their array of other items like mugs, cards. bath products, notebooks and literary themed candles by Franklin-based Middle David’s Candles.

Photo credit: Instagram @wildgeesebookshop

They also recently started doing made-to-order care packages, which make for perfect gifts for friends or even new college students. You can even order right through the website, where options include themed boxes like the “Little Gosling Gift Box” for kids or the “Pick-Me-Up Coffee Box,” which could be the perfect gift for a loved one who needs a boost.

Photo credit: Wild Geese Bookshop Facebook page

For more information about Wild Geese Bookshop, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them via Facebook and Instagram.

While in Franklin, check out these other hot spots located within walking distance of Wild Geese Bookshop:

 

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