Bookworms, Rejoice!

The Book Mart & Cafe (and Bully shop, an MSU merch store) on Main Street in Starkville has partnered with the recently-created Thrive Strategy and Consulting, one of whose founders is a Starkville native. While in-person business has been down, the collaborators have been working on ways to expand Book Mart’s online presence, so as to allow people to browse their wares from anywhere they please. Book Mart owner Carolyn Abadie remarked that “People are coming in and buying things…It’s just a lot different.”


The Book Mart & Cafe (and Bully shop, an MSU merch store) on Main Street in Starkville has partnered with the recently-created Thrive Strategy and Consulting, one of whose founders is a Starkville native. While in-person business has been down, the collaborators have been working on ways to expand Book Mart’s online presence, so as to allow people to browse their wares from anywhere they please. Book Mart owner Carolyn Abadie remarked that “People are coming in and buying things. .It’s just a lot different.”

Photo: From left, Carolyn Abadie, the owner of Book Mart & Cafe, and Hannah Jian discuss the details of creating an online platform for Book Mart & Cafe to sell books on Friday in Starkville.
Claire Hassler, Dispatch Staff


“We have resources,” Hannah Jian of Thrive said. “We have expertise that we think can actually translate to real help for small businesses in our communities.” The two ladies met up in June to discuss ways to move forward, and they had a solid plan in place in a short time. “Starkville’s close to [Hannah’s] heart,” Abadie said. “She’s wanting to help the town where she lives. It means more when it comes from somebody who grew up here.” They are currently working on setting up an online storefront for the stores.


Currently an on-hiatus Emory University student, Jian had already been working with groups in Atlanta to help local companies shift their focus from their normal products to ones which are needed now — e.g. a clothing company wanted to transition to mostly making facemasks, and a robotics startup wants to help companies looking to implement warehouse automation. Jian and four Emory classmates, all from different cities, are working as a unit to benefit business owners in their respective hometowns. She has also worked with Starkville’s own Glo, which is now a multi-national concern. Jian is working on spreading the word about Thrive so that the pro-bono company can help as many local businesses as they can.
“Having people such as Hannah pitch in and offer that assistance is vital for the local economy,” Partnership CEO Mike Tagert said. “The fact that she is from Starkville, certainly that helps small business owners understand that she has a feel for the community and the town…Any additional ways that our small business owners have to interact with their customer base is more important than ever,” he went on to say. “They have to be diverse. They have to have secondary and tertiary ways of selling their products.”


As Emory will be going full-digital/remote learning for the Fall semester, Jian will be staying in Starkville for now, working directly with local entrepreneurs: “We aren’t going to be able to return to normal for a long time,” Jian said. “Businesses are still going to be feeling the impacts of the pandemic on the economy for a long time after now.”

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