Square Books

Richard and Lisa Howorth opened Square Books in 1979 with $10,000 they had saved up and $10,000 they borrowed from a bank. The couple rented an upstairs space in a building Richard’s aunt owned on the town square in Oxford, Miss. It didn’t even have visibility from the street.

“We painted on the risers of the stairs the categories of the store—mysteries, cookbooks, so forth and so on—so that if people did happen to stop and look through the glass door they would see that it was probably a bookstore,” Richard Howorth said.