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Opinion In Market: Books vs. Axes? And the winner is …

In Market: Books vs. Axes? And the winner is …

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

Spoiler alert: In this case, the winner was books.

Last week, the Fort Worth City Council with all due seriousness – and a splinter of humor – approved a zoning variance for Bad Axe Throwing. Bad Axe Throwing is the name of an establishment that will offer, well, axe throwing, in a controlled environment, along with alcoholic beverages. Axe throwing is growing as an activity, somewhat similar to offering darts in a bar, though obviously in a larger space. I think it has something to do with the popularity of Game of Thrones and blacksmithing programs on DIY channels.

Also last week, Trademark Property announced that their WestBend development on University Drive is getting a bookstore. Commonplace Books, an independent bookstore based in Oklahoma City, will open a “pop-up” location that will be open at least a year. That’s a little more sedate an activity than axe throwing.

The moment I saw the announcement I knew the people that once roamed the former Barnes & Noble at University Park Village would be dancing in Jane Eyre heaven.

Fort Worth needs a good independent bookstore. I know we have a few, and I appreciate them, but that area near TCU should have one just to complete the “college town” atmosphere.

Fort Worth just surpassed San Francisco to become the 13th largest city in the country. But in terms of cool, independent bookstores, San Francisco has us beat by a mile. If you’ve ever roamed or become mesmerized in the many fascinating rooms at Green Apple Books in the city where Tony left his cardiac muscle, you know what I mean.

San Francisco has a Bad Axe Throwing bar too, so it’s not like they’re just sitting around reading Dashiell Hammett or Tales of the City.

To see where the cardiac muscles of our readers were, I conducted a very unscientific poll: Are you more excited by Fort Worth getting a bar where inebriated people throw axes or an independent bookstore?

The answer: You may like axes, but you certainly dig books, too. War and Peace beat ax warriors fairly handily, though if someone wanted to open a bookstore that also had an ax throwing component that might work, too.

Welcome Commonplace Books. I think Fort Worth has been waiting for you. Welcome Bad Axe Throwing, too. We wouldn’t want to make you mad.

Robert Francis is editor of the Fort Worth Business Press.

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