The Tennessean
January 18, 2011

Thelma Kidd and Karen Davis have vowed to keep the spirit of the business they founded 30 years ago alive though Davis-Kidd Booksellers closed the doors last month on its Green Hills location.

The former owners of the iconic bookstore recently announced their partnership with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for the Davis-Kidd Booksellers Fund, which will grant monies to non profit organizations dedicated to literacy.

“So many people immediately began to express their sorrow and loss about the closing,” Davis said. “We felt that as well, so we thought what can we do to put these feelings some place where there’s action?

”The doors closed at Davis-Kidd on Dec. 29, after parent company Joseph-Beth Booksellers decided to close the Nashville bookstore as a part of its November Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

Though Kidd and Davis could not keep the doors open, both agreed that the fund could be a part of the bookstore’s legacy, Davis said.“We had been a community partner since the beginning,” she said. “We held book fairs. We invited authors in for book signings. We were not just a retail space. We extended into the community.

”As in Davis-Kidd’s heyday, the fund will continue to encourage book lovers and support the community, said Ellen Lehman, president of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

The charitable fund will be the first of its kind, since it memorializes a business rather than an individual, Lehman said. The monies raised will allow community organizations to apply for grants. Applications for the Davis-Kidd Booksellers Fund will soon be available, and the grant winners will be announced in August.

“Karen Davis and Thelma Kidd created a business that was their passion,” Lehman said. “It was a calling that filled a void in our community.

”The fund will ensure that generations of readers will be familiar with the bookstore’s mission, said John Egerton, Green Hills resident and editor of Nashville: An American Self-Portrait.

Egerton said he hopes the fund will help support such projects as book fairs, community-wide reading events and other efforts the bookstore sponsored.

“They want to keep a candle in the window for people who want to keep on handling books,” Egerton said. “The golden age is over, but books are not dead. I applaud them for doing this.”

Thelma Kidd
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