New chapter: You can’t keep this used book store down

know knew booksAfter tenants were notified in early December 2020 to vacate the Staunton Mall by the end of the year, Know Knew Books struggled for several months to find just the right new location.

The used book store, owned by Bill Burruss of Keswick and Matt Shiflett of Waynesboro, reopened in the former location of Goodwill on Greenville Avenue just down from the mall.

Then, earlier this year, Burruss and Shiflett were notified of a new tenant taking residence in that location who could pay more each month for the space.

In late May, Know Knew Books reopened at 707 Richmond Avenue in Staunton, where a consignment store formerly called home.

“The whole thing is people finding out that we moved and where we moved to,” said Burruss. “It’s good. Retail is location, and this is a good location.”

The new location on Richmond Avenue allows for only 8,000 pieces of merchandise compared to 12,000 on Greenville Avenue, according to Shiflett. Burruss estimates the store will be able to offer 85-90 percent of what it offered before.

“With the used book market, the problem always is how do you get enough inventory for the people,” Shiflett said. As they began unpacking at the Richmond Avenue location, Shiflett said they realized they had enough inventory for a second store.

On July 15, Burruss and Shiflett hope to open a second store location at 7228 Hull Street in Richmond where surplus merchandise from the Staunton store will be sold.

“This is what you do,” Burruss said of opening a second location.

Shiflett said that while the used book store has almost no competition in the Queen City, Know Knew Books will have competition in Richmond. But both men are looking forward to what their business venture can do.

“As long as you’re making any money, there are positives,” Burruss said.

The Richmond Avenue store offers crystals, which were not available at the Greenville Avenue location, as well as the same book genres.

“We’re putting out much the same as we were but less [quantity],” Burruss said. Fewer copies of each title will be available. “We’re pleased with it, and, hopefully, people will come in and check it out.”

Know Knew Books continues to welcome book donations for store credit, and volunteers and part-time help “who know books” to help sort and put out merchandise. Anyone interested should message the store on Facebook or come by the Richmond Avenue location.

Shiflett said he and Burruss are also looking for an investor interested in providing land for them to build a book store to better secure the business’s future without having to continue to rent space.


Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.