Apr 15, 2024 - Business

Fall in love with Charlotte's romance book store on wheels

Trope Bookshop owner Katie Mitchell sits on the steps of the little school bus turned bookshop.

Trope Bookshop owner Katie Mitchell. Photo: Mandy Stewart Photography, courtesy of Trope Bookshop

Trope Bookshop is a bus-turned-bookshop, but since space on the bus is limited, it focuses on a specific genre – romance.

Why it matters: Romance book stores are having a moment, as Axios' Torey Van Oot wrote. Print sales of romance novels were up 52% year over year as of last summer, per Circana a consumer research.

The vibe: The Green Girl, as the bus is affectionately known, has what owner Katie Mitchell describes as an old-school English-style pub feel. Selling romance novels was her intention from the start.

Flashback: Mitchell, who was born and raised in Arkansas, moved to Charlotte in 2014. As a kid, she loved to read. But she was often too busy, and it wasn't until the pandemic that she rekindled her love of reading.

  • She left her corporate job as a project manager in 2022, but she couldn't afford a retail space.
  • Her friends suggested going for a mobile bookshop like the book carts in New York City's Central Park. In July 2023, Mitchell found the bus on Facebook Marketplace. It was white and smelled like sweaty kids after recess, she tells Axios.
  • Trope Bookshop's first popup was at The Culture Shop in Belmont on Oct. 19, 2023, where Mitchell was working part-time.

Between the lines: The bookshop also has a book club called Smutty Book Club, which meets the second Thursday of the month at Monday Night Brewing.

  • Each book includes a casting call, where book club members write in who they would want to play the characters in a movie.
  • "Henry Cavill gets cast a lot," Mitchell says.

What's next: Trope Bookshop recently partnered with The Giddy Goat in Plaza Midwood. You'll see the Green Girl there the last Sunday of every month and one weekday a month starting Tuesday, April 16, from 9am-1pm.

  • Trope Bookshop will also be at Legion Brewing in Plaza Midwood from 6-9pm Wednesday, April 17, for the brewery's book fair and Friday, April 19, at Heist Brewery from 5-8pm for a local author meet and greet.
  • Find Trope Bookshop's full weekly schedule on Instagram and expect an average of three to four popups a week at local businesses around town.

The big picture: Mitchell hopes to turn Trope Bookshop into a physical storefront eventually.

Take a look around the Green Girl.

Trope Bookshop exterior.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Inside Trope Bookshop.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Trope Bookshop exterior.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
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