You don't have to visit Charlotte's NoDa community to enjoy a retro vibe.
University City has its own eclectic bookstore, called The Last Word. It opened in November 2010 and is a true smorgasbord of books, art, crafts, music and other media.
The store will buy your gently used books, DVDs, VHS, iPods, video games, consoles, CDs and even vinyl records.
The Last Word is part of the Grand Promenade shopping complex at the intersection of North Tryon Street and East W.T. Harris Boulevard. As soon as you enter the store, you can see a mix of arts and culture while listening to a wide variety of music.
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I was fortunate to hear Ella Fitzgerald's version of "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" while watching people of all ages browse and sell their books and other items.
The sights and sounds offered a relaxed atmosphere, which is just what owner Elizabeth Pope planned. She and her sons, Matthew and Marshall Hicks, who are co-owners, wanted to create something different. "We really wanted to create a place where people can congregate, relax and feel welcome," said Pope.
The Last Word offers free space for meetings and a play area for children that includes books, games, puppets and a puppet stage. It currently has a summer reading program for children 12 and younger. If children read 10 books, they get $5 in store credit.
There is a large checkerboard, sofas and a variety of chairs sprinkled throughout the store and a variety of games and trivia. It also has a community board for people to advertise local events and services. Local musicians, authors and artists can showcase - and sell - their work, with book signings and art shows.
The Last Word management has given 12-year-old entrepreneur Taylor Brown a chance to sell his Paracord Survival Bracelets. They are made out of parachute material and can be used for a variety of purposes.
Some of Pope's plans include poetry slams, movie nights and eventually adding a café. The store currently sells coffee, and it's free on Fridays. When you bring in items to sell, there is a "Buy Area" with requirements listed on the wall.