Will Grossenbacher | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Will Grossenbacher


Will Grossenbacher, 22, owns and operates Union Street Books in Canton.

At 22, Will Grossenbacher is already the owner and proprietor of Union Street Books in Canton with a classic, antique atmosphere.

Grossenbacher, a Madison native, graduated from Madison Central High School in 2007. He attended the University of Mississippi and majored in international studies, graduating in May. Grossenbacher was unsure as to what he should do next. David Ingebretsen, the previous owner of Union Street Books, was with the store for almost two years, along with his bookstore in Madison, Yellow Dog Books. With plans to retire, he looked for a young intellectual to continue his business and literary endeavors. Grossenbacher was a prime candidate.

"This opportunity just presented itself, and I did not have any plans for next year," Grossenbacher says. "So it sort of just worked out."

The building that Union Street Books is in was originally a fine men's clothing store called Perlinsky's Men's Store, which dates back to the 1930s. Ingebretsen kept the original shelving, woodwork and structure of the store to maintain the vintage atmosphere. Grossenbacher took over ownership of Union Street and reopened it June 1. With an innate love for literature and insatiable appetite for knowledge, a bookstore just seemed a perfect fit for him.

"I grew up in a family with an emphasis on reading. My mom and my sister have always worked in bookstores," Grossenbacher says. "I have always liked to read a lot, so it seemed like a good opportunity."

Grossenbacher plans to continue Ingebretsen's tradition of selling both new and used books while developing focal areas consisting of southern literature, Mississippi authors and local artists. Union Street Books now has a monthly songwriter and writer night at 7 p.m. the first Thursday. Grossenbacher intends for this monthly event to be a way for people to gain access to local talent. In addition to the new aspects of Union Street Books, he plans to incorporate a small coffee shop to enhance the atmosphere of a place to hang out.

"Canton is a small town with a good sense of community," Grossenbacher says. "And it just sort of needs a place like this where people can come and congregate."

Union Street Books is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For information, call 601-427-0703.

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