With the convenience of online shopping and e-readers, purchasing a tangible book may seem outdated, but there is something special about visiting a local bookstore that the internet cannot recreate.
sQecial Media, a Lexington gift shop and bookstore located on the north edge of UK’s campus, will be celebrating 46 years of business on March 4.
Mary Morgan has been the sole owner of the store since the death of David Adams, the former owner and her former partner, in 2005. She now runs the store at 371 South Limestone alongside her daughter, Morgan Adams.
“The store began in 1972, and David is the one who started the store,” Morgan said. “I started working here in 1977 for David, and then he and I became partners.”
David’s original sQecial location sat on South Limestone “a little closer into town in a little block of hippie shops,” Morgan said. sQecial moved down the street in 1975 into a little white Victorian house where CD Central now sits. Once Morgan joined the sQecial team, the shop eventually moved next door into their current building.
“The wide range of book titles” are Morgan’s favorite items that sQecial sells, but the products they have to choose from are essentially endless. The sQecial Facebook page lists “bajas, boxes, bumper stickers, calendars, candles, cards, coloring books, crystals, essential oils, flasks, gift wrap, hookahs, incense, jewelry, journals, lanterns, magazines, magnets, malas, masks, mugs, origami paper, pendulums, pillows, puzzles, runes, sage, salt and pepper shakers, sarongs, scarves, singing bowls, soap, shampoo, socks, statues, stuffed animals, tapestries, T-shirts, tarot cards, tea towels, tobacco accessories, toys, wind chimes and Zippos,” just to name a few items available at the store.
“I like everything that we sell,” Morgan said. “We don’t tend to carry things that we don’t love.”
The variety of products is what keeps the attention of the store’s loyal customers. Olivia Kelly, a history sophomore, first heard about sQecial during the fall semester of her freshman year and has been visiting with her friends ever since.
“It’s such a cute place and everyone who works there is super nice. I’ve had some friends visiting me and I’ve brought them there to see it because it’s so unique,” Kelly said. “It’s really just a fun place.”
Customers like Kelly who continuously support sQecial are who keep the store and other local businesses going. While some local bookstores struggle to stay afloat and bookstore giants like Borders have had to file for bankruptcy, Morgan sees a bright future for sQecial because it’s one of a kind and customers appreciate that, even if online book prices are cheaper.
“With the types of books we carry and the atmosphere of our store, it’s a place where it’s more of an experience to come in here and look at things and pick them up. You can’t get that when you’re shopping online,” Morgan said. “There are also a lot of people that just really want to support local businesses and, luckily, we aren’t just a bookstore that looks like any other bookstore. I think that’s one of the things that keeps us going."
sQecial will debut new bumper stickers, T-shirts and totes at its annual birthday celebration from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 4. Snacks will be provided.