’People just seem really excited’

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Kim Bruton, who with her husband Brent owns the Intermission Book Shop, is pictured Monday inside the new business, which had a grand opening Saturday.

Kim Bruton anticipated a large turnout at the grand opening Saturday for the Intermission Bookshop, which Bruton co-owns with her husband, Brent.

The Facebook response on the earlier announcement of the bookstore’s opening was strong, Bruton said.

But she wasn’t totally sure. The grand opening was, after all, on a 105-degree Saturday afternoon.

Bruton’s first instinct was correct. The bookstore’s opening attracted hundreds of people.

“There’s been such an outpouring of our community support of the bookshop,” Bruton said Monday. “People just seemed really excited.”

Kim and Brent Bruton and the bookstore’s manager, Katie Vernon, were interviewed Monday in the bookstore at 203 Center Avenue. The business was closed that day and the Brutons and Vernon prepared for Tuesday, when the store will reopen for the week.

The store will be open Tuesday through Saturday, and hours are:

• Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Friday and Saturday — 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The book store is across the street from Pat Coursey Park, sandwiched between the Taylor Clinic on one side and the Krischke CPA building on the other. A trio of local artists — Amanda Coers, Jeremy Serna and Myranda Moody — spent about a week earlier this year painting a colorful mural on the top half of the building, which depicts books and other items including a world globe and a coffee cup lounging on bookshelves.

The Brutons had been planning for a Sept. 1 opening, but decided to move it up a couple of days to take advantage of the annual Independent Bookstore Day.

That day had been scheduled for April but was postponed until Aug. 29 because of COVID, Bruton said.

The Brutons bought the building — which formerly housed businesses including the old Queen Theater —through their company, Brim Investments LLC, in November without knowing what they were going to do with it.

They decided it would be a bookstore, and Brian Northcutt, owner of the Paragon North construction company, and his crew remodeled the spacious, wooden interior, which includes a wide staircase that leads to a second floor.

The finished product is a rich motif that is both vintage and new. Rugs and furniture — including a couch from the 1700s, chairs end tables and old trunks — interspersed through the store, inviting people to sit, talk, read and drink coffee or tea.

That’s just what the Brutons envisioned, months before the bookstore was ready to open.

“It’s unique,” Bruton said. “We want it to be very welcoming and inviting. We tried to furnish it such that it would encourage people to sit and to linger and have conversations with people. it’s not, rush in, grab a book and get out.”

The Brutons want to see space used activities including book clubs and small group meetings.

Vernon, the bookstore’s manager, is from Bangs. Vernon said she previously taught school for five years — four in Brady one one in Fort Stockton.

“I felt God just kind of say ‘you’re done with that,’” Vernon said.

She is now the youth pastor at Brownwood Community Church. In need of extra income, Vernon contacted the Brutons after learning about the bookstore in earlier media reports and asked for a job.

“Almost immediately she responded back,” Vernon said of Kim Bruton.

The name Intermission Bookshop has a couple of meanings, Bruton said earlier. It’s a nod to the former Queen Theater. “And also, intermission means to pause, to break, to cease striving,” Bruton said. “So, Intermission Book Shop, where real stories are shared, is kind of our tag. So these books are really just a segue into building relationships.”

Bruton said the bookstore is starting with “pretty much every genre you can imagine, just so we can kind of gauge the temperature of our community to see what the real demand is. We have a lot of rare books as well. It’s going to evolve and it will be exciting to see how it does.”

Most of the books in the store are “gently used,” Bruton said, and books can also be ordered through the store’s website.

Intermission Book Shop manager Katie Vernon (center) is flanked by Intermission co-owners Brent and Kim Bruton.