In the age where online shopping is king, it’s hard to find a brick and mortar store committed to bringing books to the local community. But Changing Hands Bookstore is doing just that.
Investing in Phoenix
First established in April 1974 on Mill Avenue, Changing Hands had a simple mission — to bring the written word to the community in a welcoming, accessible way. The founders had a common goal to have a socially responsible store that also served as a gathering place for the local community. Created with the idea that books can change lives, Changing Hands moved from selling only used books to selling both new and used within the first two years of opening.
Fast forward to the year 2000, and Arizona transplant Cindy Dash saw an opportunity to expand Changing Hands store to Phoenix. “Phoenix had a void; it didn’t have a bookstore,” she explains. Cindy wanted to bring something to the community that fostered a feeling of being together while demonstrating the impact that books can have on people.
Co-founder of the Phoenix location, Cindy is ambitious when it comes to giving the community a place that brings people together.
Keeping the Classic Comfort
A New York native and now longtime Arizona resident, Cindy is deeply connected to her community and is constantly asking the question, “How can we help achieve greater things?” As Cindy notes, the opportunities don’t stop. Changing Hands brings people together through events, speakers, and the First Draft book bar. The bar, coupled with a cozy sitting room (fireplace and lounge chairs included), creates an incredibly warm environment where anyone is free to lose themselves in their favorite novel.
Changing Hands is large and filled to the brim with books of every genre and style. Although large, it doesn’t lack the warmth and charm that people crave from a local community bookstore, and aside from endless rows of hardcovers and paperbacks, Changing Hands has more. The large common space hosts an assortment of tables and overstuffed easy chairs, offering workspace practicality or curl-up-with-a-book comfort, depending on your need. At the center of the store, and perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of the store is the First Draft Book Bar, where you can get a cold beer, chilled glass of wine, or any assortment of delicious small bites. It’s a place where people can easily connect with one another.
It’s this commitment to the community and maintaining the culture of a classic bookstore that has created the welcoming environment that Changing Hands is known for. Cindy relies on her staff to help maintain the store as it is and to continue to create a space where people can come find a book but also feel comfortable working, reading, socializing, or just relaxing.
All for the Community
There will always be new trials facing any business, but Cindy is rising to the challenges of combating the online shopping world while maintaining her bookstore’s mission to bring real books to the community in a way they can truly appreciate.
What exactly does the local community mean to Changing Hands Bookstore? “The community is the foundation of our bookstore and culture – We live and breathe it!” Cindy is nothing short of passionate about her involvement with Changing Hands as well as her life in Arizona. Engaged in non-profits around the state, Cindy attributes much of the community success to the hard work of people. As we see in many Arizona communities, people are inspired to continue working hard for success – not just for themselves, but for each other.
Changing Hands Bookstore
300 W Camelback Rd