I’ve been wanting to write about this little gem for a while now. If you’ve ever visited the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Charlotte, you’ve probably been drawn inevitably next door to Julia’s Coffee & Books, where community is brewed along side their Direct-Trade Salvadorian coffee. A fundraising division of Habitat for Humanity Charlotte, all proceeds raised in the book and coffee shop go toward building homes for people in need. That alone is pretty cool. But anyone who has visited Julia’s will tell you it is a lot more than a charity coffee shop and used book store. It is a haven of for readerly, art-loving,community-embracing coffee gourmands who are there to enjoy a great space as much as they are there to support a great cause.
This is Julia Maulden, for whom Julia’s is named. She was the first volunteer executive director and the person who got the Charlotte chapter of Habitat for Humanity started.
The shop is built in a section of the Habitat ReStore warehouse, which means you get those great tall ceilings and the industrial-looking pipes and exposed concrete walls sticking out in various places. In spite of this, the folks at Julia’s have managed to give the space a comfy, cozy coffee shop feel. There’s a loft with additional seating and several long wooden tables, which I suspect is meant to accommodate groups and encourage community mingling. That is to say, there aren’t a lot of two-person tables like you might find in Starbucks. Also the walls are decorated with beautiful art from local artists – a lot of watercolors of natural landscapes, very North Carolina. Plus I love the chalk-board signs, the mint-chocolate chip color scheme, and the cool typography of the stenciled signs. And lest I fail to mention, in this time of economic recession when we’re all tightening our belts, used bookstore prices are the bomb.
For my Charlotte readers, have you ever visited Julia’s? Are you addicted like I am to thrift store shopping at ReStore and the delicious coffee that ensues?
I’d love to know if any of my Atlanta readers know of a charity coffee/bookstore like this in the city? I visited the Habitat Restore on Memorial Road, but there was no Julia’s equivalent (sad face).
And for everyone, what are some cool charity bookshops where you live? Tell us about them. We might all want to come and visit.
(Photos from For the Love of Bookshops and David Docusen)