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New Northside bookstore won't have something for everyone, but perhaps 'everything for someone'

Cincinnati Enquirer logo Cincinnati Enquirer 10/29/2019 Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati Enquirer
a book shelf filled with books: Downbound Books opened Oct. 25 in Northside. © Provided/Downbound Books, Bill Bogenschutz Downbound Books opened Oct. 25 in Northside.

Cincinnati native Gregory Kornbluh has been all over the country looking at books, perfecting his dream bookstore in his mind's eye.

Now, both Kornbluh and his dream have come home to Cincinnati's Northside. 

Downbound Books opened Oct. 25 on the corner of Apple and Knowlton streets. The independent bookstore specializes in fiction from small presses, nonfiction works on history, politics and the social sciences, books on craft, cookbooks and picture books.

"While we're going to do our best to offer a wide and hopefully unexpected range of books, a shop our size can't rightly claim to have something for everyone," he said. "But maybe we've got everything for someone."

Kornbluh said in a news release that he and his partner Sarah Fischer are excited to learn more about the interests of local readers, but that his and Fischer's tastes will "always show through."

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And it does, all the way down to the bookshelves themselves.

a view of a living room: “We’re aiming to be an old fashioned neighborhood bookstore,” says owner Gregory Kornbluh, “but hopefully one that people all over the city find worth traveling for.” © Provided/Downbound Books, Bill Bogenschutz “We’re aiming to be an old fashioned neighborhood bookstore,” says owner Gregory Kornbluh, “but hopefully one that people all over the city find worth traveling for.”

Coming home to build his dream

The dream was always to own a small store that could accommodate a lot of books while maintaining a clean, minimalist feel, Kornbruh said.

And what better way to do that, he thought, than to build it himself. 

All of the shelving and furniture in the 500 square foot bookstore was handcrafted by Kornbluh with assistance from his father, retired architect John Kornbluh.

The books are a mix of Kornbluh and Fischer's tastes, with Fischer curating the store's cookbook and children's sections.

Kornbluh and Fischer met as classmates at Sands Montessori and Walnut Hills High School. But for the past 13 years, Kornbluh has been on the east coast, working for a short time as a bookseller at a shop outside Boston and then mainly in the sales and marketing department of Harvard University Press.

a room with a book shelf: For now Downbound Books is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. © Provided/Downbound Books, Bill Bogenschutz For now Downbound Books is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

"I was very fortunate to travel widely for work, and at every stop, I'd visit as many bookstores as I could. Over the years, the outlines of my dream bookstore became more and more clear," he said. "We've been open just a few days now, but so far I'm really, really pleased that people seem to be seeing it the way that I'd hoped."

Downbound Books is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, the release states. Expanded hours will start soon and event and book club programming will be announced for the new year.

"We're aiming to be an old fashioned neighborhood bookstore," Kornbluh said. "But hopefully one that people all over the city find worth traveling for."

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: New Northside bookstore won't have something for everyone, but perhaps 'everything for someone'

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